Shere-E-Punjab owner and chef Zail Singh Shergill has more than two decades of cooking experience packed into his apron. Even with all that wisdom, he still counts on those around him—family, especially—to keep the restaurant’s spread fresh and exciting. Zail’s son and Shere-E-Punjab co-founder, Pushpinder Singh, consistently concocts recipes for new dishes—an ongoing effort reflected in the lengthy and varied menu, which includes fresh naan, chicken tikka masala, and barbecue lamb kabobs cooked in the clay tandoor ovens. The restaurant also carries a selection of Indian beers, wines, and cocktails.
Executive chef and owner Bharat Luthra named his restaurant Khajuraho after a town in Madhya Pradesh, India—a town famous for a series of Hindu and Jain temples filled with erotic monuments. Like those iconic statues, the sights, smells, and tastes of Luthra’s Indian cuisine create a vivid statement in support of sensuality and the enjoyment of life. His restaurant's elegant white-clothed tables, great enough in number to seat up to 120, stage feasts fit for mild to spicy palates and carnivorous to vegetarian appetites. Luthra bakes succulent marinated chicken inside a tandoori clay oven, spikes fresh seafood with garlic and ginger, and keeps vegetable balls from rolling off the plate with a smooth cream sauce and repurposed bowling-alley bumpers.
Tiffin infuses drab dishes with a plethora of Indian spices imported straight from the subcontinent itself by peripatetic purveyors. Shrimp and chicken absorb flavors of orange and chile de arbol after a bathing in the mango-chile marinade ($10), and curry finds its savory soul mate in the complementing haldi turmeric powder ($5.59). Elaichi whole green cardamom ($6.59), a staple of Indian desserts, leaves its native India, bidding a tearful farewell to its ginger family in search of a starring role in pungent dishes. Customers can pick up dish dustings or have them delivered ($25 minimum) to their home, office, or underground solarium for no additional delivery charge.
At Chinnar Indian Cuisine, spices are so intrinsic to the food that the menu has a glossary explaining the flavors and functions of each one. Ginger and garlic, for example, lend a sharp taste and aroma to kadai with lamb and green peppers, while black pepper gives you the ability to roar cartoon flames. The same attention to detail goes into tandoori entrees baked in a clay oven, from chicken tikka to lobster tail.
The chefs at Desi Village Indian assert dominance over hunger by mixing powerful spices into creamy curries and colorful veggie stews. They pair housemade cheese with spinach to create palak paneer, a filling and nutritious dish that both vegetarians and meat eaters can dip into with garlic naan or roti bread. Similarly, yellow lentils serve as the main protein in dal chana’s mix of tomatoes, ginger, cumin, onions, and fresh garlic. Meatier meals include tandoori shrimp, marinated in yogurt and spices, and chicken kebabs. The dining room is just as colorful as the food-prep station, with marigold and cream fabrics sweeping across the ceiling and green chairs tucking up to tables.
At Aman's Indian Cuisine, traditional spices, herbs, and vegetables transport tongues to the other side of the globe with Indian classic vegetarian and omnivorous menus. Saag paneer's glaciers of house-made cheese bob through creamed-spinach waters rippling with mild spices ($10.95), and ginger and garlic greet taste buds making contact with tadka dal's yellow lentils ($9.95). After it's puréed, baingan bharta's grilled eggplant mixes with a spice-adorned combination of tomatoes, onions, and peas ($10.95) as skillfully as two mischievous children in one white suit mix in with a crowd of departing astronauts.