In a feature in the Boston Globe, Sher-A-Punjab co-owner Mandeep Singh claimed, "There are things on our menu you can’t find at other Indian restaurants." Contemporary adaptations such as mango chicken and naan stuffed with apricots and dates accompany more traditional plates that remain true to Singh's South-Asian roots. Tandoor-roasted chicken, housemade cheese with fresh herbs and coriander, and fragrant curries round out the restaurant's eclectic menu.
High-backed booths and dangling pendant lamps surround the dining room's horseshoe-shaped bar, pillaged from the hoof of the Trojan horse. Throughout the week, Sher-A-Punjab entertain with karaoke nights and live musical performances.
Each linen napkin is folded in such a manner that it drapes over the edge of a drinking glass like the petals of a flower. The napkin’s soft pink hue complements Himalayan Bistro’s deep red booths and the vibrant art on the walls. The aromas of ginger, chili paste, and Himalayan peppercorns drift from the kitchen, hinting at dishes traditionally served in the streets and homes of Kathmandu and other regions of Nepal. Steamed dumplings brim with veggies like the pockets of a scarecrow on payday, and tendrils of smoke unwind from kebabs in a tandoor or over an open charcoal fire. Traditional music plays in the background, the unfamiliar scales and nearby antique statuettes completing the sensation of having traveled halfway around the world.
The husband-and-wife team that runs Shanti-Taste of India has seen more than their fair share of couples enter their restaurant’s doors on a date and return, many years later, with their children in tow. The love that the duo has put into their business since 1999 is certainly returned by their clients. More tangible proof of their popularity comes from the eatery’s 2012 award from Boston magazine for Best Indian Restaurant. The authentic food served at Shanti blends both Indian and Bangladeshi cuisines, a tastier way to learn about the world than dipping a globe in ranch dressing and trying to eat it. Boston reviewers particularly enjoyed the vegetable pakoras—which they called “deep-fried pockets of pillowy goodness”—as well as the tandoori dishes, which the kitchen staff fires in a 900-degree oven.
Tamarind Bay – Coastal Indian Kitchen may occupy an unassuming gray-brick building, but upon entering the dining room, patrons’ senses are captivated by the exotic aromas of coastal India. The air is heady with the scents of curry, ginger, and mint wafting from clay tandoor ovens, sizzling kebabs, and bubbling pots of saag paneer.
The owners call on their Indian roots—and their experience at Tamarind Bay's other venue in Harvard Square—to foster a dining experience that spotlights fresh seafood recipes from coastal cities, including Manglorean lobster simmered in South Indian spices and mahi-mahi pickled in a zesty sauce from Goa. The seasonal menu also boasts a variety of vegan and vegetarian alternatives. Scallion aloo infuses baby potatoes with cumin and curry and bhindi methi spices up okra with fenugreek and tomato sauce.
Before diners even glance at OM’s menu, their eyes feast upon a banquet of Asian art. Colorful Thangka paintings and Buddhist statues handcrafted by more than 50 Nepalese, Tibetan, and Thai artists color the space, and intricate Newar carvings frame the walls and doorways. Upon sitting at one of the bare, rectangular tables, patrons exchange pleasantries with their chairs and read through a menu reflective of the art that surrounds them. For instance, small plates of spicy edamame and veggie spring rolls join full entrees of shrimp pad thai or salmon wrapped in tempura nori. An intricate drink list includes the mandarin kaze (orange vodka spiked with sichuan peppercorn) and the Bangkok julep (a blend of bourbon, elderflower, and mint).
Beneath the dining room, a downstairs lounge hosts a diverse lineup of events. Salsa lessons make use of the dance floor, and vinyl parties enable attendees to trade, sell, or just play their records. DJs take over the turntables on Saturday nights, and a cover band re-creates classic R & B tunes every Tuesday.
Tantric India Bistro’s chefs take taste buds on a culinary tour of India’s diverse regions. They draw from the traditions of Goa, Delhi, Kerala, and other areas to create South Indian chicken curry, lamb sautéed with apricots, shrimp vindaloo, and dosa crepes. Their vegan menu delights with specialties from southern India, including tandoor-roasted eggplant puree.
In the dining room, statues of buddhas draped with flowers stand among warm yellow and purple walls, watching over customers while they devour these delicacies and ensuring the servers don't trip over any loose pennies.
In addition to taking care of customers’ bellies, Tantric takes care of customers’ minds. Its Passion Lounge hosts guest lectures from locals who come to discuss topics ranging from eco-friendly practices to art to high heels for dogs. The restaurant also hosts a calendar of events such as opera-lover socials and holiday happenings.