Filmi Dhaba's name draws from two touchstones of modern Indian culture: filmi⎯referring to the flashy musical number and A-list stars of Indian cinema, and dhaba⎯the term for a small local eateries that dot the highways of the subcontinent. The restaurant bursts at the seams both with the complex scents of Indian spices and the flashiness of Bollywood. To contribute to the latter, there’s a cavalcade of visiting Indian celebrities, posing for publicity photos as they sip single-malt scotch.
The bill of fare fuses diverse traditions from across India, as well as modern and traditional influences, with jalapeño onion rings and cheeseburger samosas sharing table space with Kashmiri lamb rogan josh and wok-fried hakka noodles. In the kitchen, cooks strain creamy homemade cheese for paneer and simmer spicy South Indian chicken curries. All that food is bound for the earthy-toned main dining area or the low-lit Bombay Club. In that buzzing lounge, glasses of tropical cocktails click gently together like sleepy bumper cars amid black leather couches.