Under the guidance of the Sarma brothers, who own and operate Haveli Indian Cuisine, the chefs take care to turn out traditionally crafted Indian dishes that showcase tender lamb and chicken baked in clay ovens. Each geographic region of India has its own variation on common recipes, and Haveli's menu mirrors this broad culinary scope. Plates of vegetarian saag paneer spice up spinach cooked with cubes of cheese, and fiery vindaloo entrees send bites of shrimp or chicken blazing across taste buds. Platters of rich curries and sides, such as freshly baked roti or samosas, keep the lunch buffet packed for people on a break from work or spelunkers searching for something that's truly bottomless.
At Niramish, turmeric bursts in sunset hues in curries. Mango and pineapple cut the spice in cool chutneys, and the aromas of ginger and garlic tangle in the air. Those scents drift from clay-oven tandoori dishes, curries, and fried rice. The dishes range from mild to hot and spicy, with mango lassis and buttered naan bread soothing palates still a-tingle from plates of tofu vindaloo cooked south-Indian style.
Once a title carried by the top government officials in British India, the term "viceroy" connotes a regal finery and splendor. The word serves well for The Viceroy Royal Indian Dining, where the aroma of roasting spice, the warmth of clay tandoori ovens, and the taste of curry are all intended to make a luxurious impression. Like a bespoke suit of beef jerky, each meal bursts at the seams with flavor. Chefs pepper garlic naan, lamb kebab, and tikka masala with freshly ground herbs and spices, ranging in potency from mild to traditionally spicy. The restaurant's decor makes for an elegant backdrop, sporting high ceilings ringed with bright saffron hues and crystal chandeliers, and walls covered in colorful paintings of Indian wildlife and marble palaces.
In spirit with the olden days of romantic turkey-leg gnawing by firelight, Olde Towne serves up an extensive menu of protein-packed fare, including grilled meats, seafood, burgers, sandwiches, hand-tossed pizzas, gourmet salads, soups, and more. Pique your palate with an order of Chesapeake crab fritters served with roasted red-pepper aioli and wasabi slaw ($9.99); or Cajun chicken nachos, topped with wood-fired chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, jalapeños, and a mix of cheeses ($7.99). Jumbo fresh fried chicken wings come doused in your choice of sauce (house specialties include lemon pepper, ranch, and lemon-yaki), served with celery and blue cheese or ranch dressing ($8.99 for 10). Treat your mouth to some wood-fired protein, such as prime rib served au jus with horseradish ($12.99 for 8 oz.), chicken Florentine stuffed with spinach and artichoke dip and topped with sun-dried tomatoes and a demi glaze ($13.99), or seared tuna served with veggies, wasabi slaw, and one additional side ($13.99). To satisfy the mini taste sensors on your fingertips, try a handheld creation such as the Black and Blue Burger (bacon and blue, jack, and cheddar cheeses, $8.50) or patty melt (Swiss and American cheeses and sautéed onions on rye, $8.99), and satisfy creative impulses with a build-your-own pizza topped with your choices from Olde Towne's bevy of meats, veggies, and cheeses (starting at $9.99 for 14").
Udipi Cafe's traditional Indian ingredients and recipes form the basis of its expansive menu of flavorful vegetarian delights. Serenade taste sensors with appetizers such as a delectable potato-cauliflower duet of aloo gobi ($8.50) or the broad tasting board of the assorted sampler platter ($7.95). Dry and spicy chickpeas swim in a pond of piquant curry sauce in the chana masala curry ($8.50), which pairs pleasantly with a side of paratha bread ($1.95). Indo-Chinese specialties transport diners to the northern climes of the subcontinent with flavor combinations such as vegetable hakka noodles ($7.95), and dinner specials fill traditional platters with offerings such as the royal madras special thali and royal south indian thali ($13.50 each).
At first, Tin Drum Asia Café's rapid service and bright decor evoke the aromatic street stands of Hong Kong, where founder Steven Chan ate throughout his childhood. The traditional ambiance is no accident—the franchise's name also harks back to a bygone era, when a tin drummer would awaken citizens and regale them with current events as they ate the day’s first meal. The electronic kiosks dotting the café, however, plunk this traditional scene in the middle of a cyberpunk setting. They allow patrons to customize their orders based on taste preferences and nutritional content, accommodating dietary endeavors such as vegetarianism and weight-loss goals.
This merger of technology and urban convention reflects a penchant for edgy ideas that also affects the menu. Items inspired by the culinary techniques of Japan, China, Vietnam, and Thailand share space in the savory catalog, taking the form of street tacos, soups, and mango chicken, a take on the general tso's staple that's sweeter than a syrup-soaked army helmet. Music is the final ingredient that charges the atmosphere. Nation's Restaurant News reports that it typically plays at an energizing 120 beats per minute and was a factor in attracting the café's initial college crowds.