A sleek, black elephant statue overlooks the dining room, its trunk raised in a silent trumpet of approval, or perhaps to catch whiffs of the fragrant Indian, Tibetan, and Indo-Nepalese foods filing out from the kitchen. Inside, surrounded by traditional tandoori clay ovens and simmering pots of lentils, a chef backed by 20 years of experience imbues each dish with a blend of traditional spices. He stuffs flaky, savory pastries known as chaat with beans, yogurt, and chutneys, and sprinkles pinches of curry powder into pans of lamb and vegetables. During lunchtime, waiters ferry massive trays of the chef's eats to the buffet, where diners can load plates with enough vegetable masala to make a perfect sauce-angel.
Bombay Bowl's owner, Amar, says he "grew up in an East Indian kitchen," where he attentively learned his family's generations-old knowledge of the region's aromatic and salutary spices. Although his menu features the familiar combinations of turmeric, ginger, and coriander, he set out to infuse his Indian cuisine with a casual, health-conscious environment. The cooks eschew trans fats, artificial flavorings, and schnozberries, seeking out all-natural beef and chicken, chopping vibrant vegetables, and baking fresh naan over their kitchen's campfires instead. With these ingredients, diners can customize their own bowl of long-grain basmati rice, choosing from five meaty or vegetarian fillings, four sauces, and four chutneys. The chefs also whip up gluten-free and vegan options, accommodating virtually any diet.
Inside India Tavern, a large bay window casts a natural glow on grape and lime-green walls and plates of homestyle Indian fare. Named 5280 Magazine's Editors' Choice of their Top of the Town feature, diners can cozy up to a table beside the stone fireplace as they partake of clay-oven tandoori dishes made with chicken, lamb, or goa fish. After sopping up a ginger or saffron curry entree with fresh-baked naan bread, they can also question a knowledgeable server on the difference between mild, medium, and hot spice or why humans drive on parkways and park on driveways.
Kathmandu Kitchen, named after the capital city and urban center of Nepal, is a hub for South Asian cuisine in a town nearly halfway around the world. The chefs aim to help guests discover new favorite dishes, from familiar-but-different chicken wings, charbroiled after being marinated in Nepali spices, to distinctly indian stews such as dal mahkani, a rich blend of black lentils, ginger, garlic, and herbs. Lamb, chicken, shrimp, and fish also play important roles on the menu, available doused in curry, stewed in spiced cashew gravy, or baked in a clay oven until tender, smoky, and hot enough to melt the smirk off of a snowman’s face.
For diners who are unfamiliar with the cuisines of Nepal and India, the friendly servers take pride in explaining dishes and offering recommendations. To further enhance the eating-out experience, Kathmandu Kitchen occasionally hosts live musical events.
Masala Xpress's cooks forge popular Indian dishes by using regional cooking techniques and the cuisine's signature combinations of herbs and spices. In addition to the vegetarian and vegan options, chefs can blend chicken, lamb, or shrimp into their fragrant sauces, crafting fiery vindaloos as well as creamy tomato-herb masalas. A traditional clay tandoor oven roasts savory kebabs of chicken and lamb until they are tender and evenly seared.
Located on the lower level of the Aurora Mall, the restaurant allows diners to fit a hearty south Asian meal into a busy day of shopping and scrounging for Drummer Boy quarters in the wishing fountain.