In the kitchens of Indian Zayka, chefs whip up Indian and Sri Lankan specialties served á la carte at dinner or as part of a vast lunch buffet with almost 20 self-serve dishes. An extensive list of vegetarian meals sates plant-based cravings, while meat eaters can dig into lamb and homesick mermen can bite into seafood. The menu also has a section devoted to Sri Lankan plates, and that section includes a category of "deviled" entrees named for their tongue-goosing spiciness. Lassi, a traditional mango smoothie harvested from a smoothie tree, can accompany dinners, lunches, or an array of desserts.
In stark contrast to Mount Everest's chilly altitudes, Everest on Grand serves warm curries and vegetarian-friendly Nepali dishes accessible without the need for a knowledgeable Sherpa guide. Tandoor-cooked goat and lamb curries complement plentiful vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free offerings made with locally available produce and spices from India and Nepal. The eatery also serves grass-fed Tibetan yak raised in Cold Spring, Minnesota, a convergence of exotic and local not seen since the Mall of America was converted into a pyramid.
At Indian Aroma, spicy Northern Indian dishes sizzle inside a traditional tandoori oven. This oven's clay interior adds a smokey flavor to the food, which exits the oven looking as colorful as the dining room's cumin-colored walls. The restaurant's chefs, who are Indian natives, create these curries and biryanis à la carte, but they also serve them up on the buffet alongside spicy sauces, refreshing yogurts, and warm pieces of naan. Together, these components create a meal that is both hot and cool, much like a leather jacket that's been left in direct sunlight too long.
As a restaurateur with existing eateries in St. Paul to Minnetonka, Bombay Palace owner and chef Pal Cheema wasted no time putting his personal stamp on what was once a modest Himalayan restaurant in Fridley. Pal adds a health-conscious angle to Bombay Palace's menu of northern and southern Indian fare, constructing dishes with no MSG and a lighter use of oils and butter. And though his chefs create a multitude of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, from vegetable rice biryani to cheesy grilled paneer, they don't neglect their meats. Tender kebabs of yogurt-marinated chicken, lamb, and fish swelter in the heat of a clay-oven tandoor, and a fully stocked lunch buffet offers a weightlifter's shopping list of proteins from goat and lamb to fresh seafood.
After finishing their meal in one of the burgundy booths, diners can peruse the walls' framed artworks, each of which bears a placard with the name of the picture or instructions on where to locate Waldo.
Born in Vietnam and raised in the United States by Chinese parents, chef Nina Wong has always infused her dishes with a variety of Asian tastes. After marrying Thomas Gnanapragasam—a third-generation Malaysian of Indian descent—Wong discovered more unique flavors to integrate into her signature sauces and syrups. Originally opened in 2005, Chin Dian Café channels the pair's unique backgrounds through Asian soups, salads, and noodle and rice dishes, even offering some gluten-free options. Popular dishes, such as chow mai fun and chicken-and-chive dumplings, keep patrons rolling in and have earned the restaurant media acclaim from the Star Tribune, Minnesota Monthly, and the dictionary.
Chefs at Copper Pot Indian Grill fire up clay tandoori ovens to bake yogurt-marinated chicken and prawns seasoned with carom seed and red-chili powder. The chefs pick recipes from different parts of India to feature the country’s varied flavors, rotating their selections every four to six months, or whenever they complete a game of Monopoly. They stock a lunch buffet with fresh naan and pudhina paratha and maintain a well-rounded wine list with varietals from California, France, New Zealand, and Argentina.