Curry is a major player in the kitchen at India Garden Restaurant, but it's not the powdered curry that you'll find in a grocery store. Here, "curry" means zesty vindaloo and tikka masala sauces freshly blended and spiced to each guest's preference. These sauces typically dress plates of lamb, shrimp, and chicken roasted in a clay tandoor oven, but the menu isn't totally meat-centric. India Garden's chefs also craft vegetarian dishes so spicy that each could start a fire; as a precautionary measure, pair yours with an imported Indian beer.
The chefs at Nawab mix freshly ground spices on the premises, creating custom blends that infuse entrees and sauces with a traditional Indian bite. Vegetable samosas trace the roots of their flavors to mixed veggies and toasted spices ($3.95), putting them in the same family tree as the grilled potato patties in tikki chole ($5.95). Channeling the tastes of northern Indian cuisine, chicken curry treats mouths to a gentle mélange of pureed onions and savory spices ($12.50), and the lamb vindaloo roasts taste buds with a peppery mix of meat and garlic sauce that simulates a sweat-inducing tour of the earth's core without the need to rent expensive drills or haggle with the molemen's travel agent ($14.95). Vegetable mango simmers veggies in an herb-mango sauce before arriving ($12.95), priming diners for a Punjabi-style chana masala ($10.95). Amid the sleek sconces and exotic paintings of Nawab's decorous dining room, patrons can toast to successful first dates or last days as a rodeo clown while sipping a variety of wines, desserts, and a selection of liquor coffees.
Unlike space food, the cuisine at India Garden contains no preservatives. The restaurant's chefs take pride in making their food fresh. And that includes their curry sauces, which are not necessarily spicy. The emphasis on freshness extends to their ground spices and herbs, which appear in a variety of dishes, from Tandoori chicken to lamb simmered in a house sauce.
At Double Apple, Mahmoud ?Joe? Migdadi applies his culinary sensibilities to both Mediterranean and classic American dishes, crafting lamb with tzatziki sauce as well as dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets for kids. Nine types of shawarma, homemade chickpea hummus, and original smoothies stand out among the Mediterranean choices, which The Roanoke Times calls "flavorful" and "healthy." The dining room, which is divided into cozy compartments, surrounds guests with Middle Eastern d?cor that continues into the upper level's hookah caf?. There, a separate ventilation system filters smoke from hookahs loaded with fruit flavors such as grape mint and margarita, which are available with or without tobacco and wish-granting genies.