Chef Bhupender Singh's menu features popular Indian dishes, which are all made fresh daily and incorporate a delicate balance of spices. A bevy of dishes, such as vegetarian and chicken curries, saag paneer, and chicken tikka masala, can rest their tastes atop a bowl-sized serving of basmati rice ($5.95). Or sidle up to two dishes served with basmati rice or a salad on a combo plate ($7.95). The tandori chicken platter features tender chicken marinated in yogurt and spices, then roasted in Saffron's tandor oven ($9.95), and hot samosas ($1.95) and plain or garlic naan ($0.95) play sidekick to the mealheroes. For cleansing spice-sodden palates, chai tea ($2.75) and fresh mango lassi ($2.95) can be swished around mouth chambers. Saffron also boasts a chutney bar full of homemade chutneys and hot chilies, allowing anyone to spicy up dishes or coat their arms in an ineffective sunblock.
Amid the golden glow of orange hanging lights, Manas Indian Cuisine celebrates India’s rich cultural heritage with a menu of exotically spiced traditional dishes. Chefs stir up house-made chutneys and yogurts, yielding savory sauces easily sopped up with sides of fresh-baked naan and poori bread. Crispy starters sizzle in 100% vegetable oil devoid of cholesterol or trans-fat, and the spiciness of curry-laden lamb, seafood, and chickpea dishes can be customized to each diner’s request. A selection of beers, cocktails, and wines by the glass or bottle cools tongues without flash-freezing dessert in liquid nitrogen.
Using traditional ingredients, Mughal Halal Tandoori has created an extensive menu of authentic Indian entrees bursting with a variety of flavors. Send taste buds down a culinary river with a range of Indian breads, including garlic naan (stuffed with freshly diced garlic, $1.50) and aloo kulcha (paratha filled with mildly spiced mashed potatoes and peas, $2.50), before docking at curry port, which is occupied by the likes of murgh makhni (butter chicken curry, $7.95) and tala ghost (lamb curry, $8.95). In addition to specialty dishes cooked in the tandoori, Mughal Halal Tandoori serves up a variety of vegetarian options, such as the bhindi masala (mildly seasoned okra, onion, ginger, and garlic, $6.95) and the bagara baigan (Indian eggplant cooked Hydrabadi style, $6.95). Cleanse a spice-soaked palate with the mango lassi, a traditional Indian drink churned with yogurt and milk and flavored with mango ($2).
At Tava Grill and Lounge, owner and chef Punita Patel infuses her seasonal menu with Indian flavors and fresh, local ingredients. The paneer fajita tacos, for instance, ooze authenticity along with housemade cilantro mint chutney that can double as smelling salts for a food-comatose date. The seafood biryani paella evokes both India and Spain with a blend of shrimp, mussels, squid, and crab in a creamy curry sauce.
A separate menu in the lounge marries the food of India and California, as the atmosphere fuses nightclub and fine-dining establishment. Beside a softly lit bar, benches and ottomans are scattered around low tables, which break up regular tables and booths without the staff having to dig trenches around each.