Tandoors—clay cooking vessels that land somewhere between an oven and a barbecue pit—have been used in Indian homes since around 1900 BCE. Bringing this timeless culinary method to Brooklyn, Taste of India piles its menu with tandoori and seafood appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Look for the chef’s specialties, which include shrimp curry and pomfret, a pan-fried fish cooked in a mustard gravy sauce, onions, and curry leaves.
The chefs at Maurya Cuisine of India create traditional Indian dishes such as tandoori lobster tail, shrimp masala, and chili chicken. They help guests acclimate their palates to Indian food’s palette of piquant ingredients by serving spiced garlic naan and vegetable samosas that can be capped off by pistachio-mango or tutti-frutti ice cream.
Baluchi's chefs sweep regional and classic Indian cuisines into a comprehensive menu of hearty meat, seafood, and vegetarian dishes. At the heart of the kitchen, a traditional tandoor oven works overtime to bake entrees, such as a whole red snapper or lamb chops, and fresh naan and paratha breads. Meanwhile, chefs simmer seafood curries in creamy coconut milk and top off feasts with scoops of housemade ice cream flavored with mango or pistachio. Though Baluchi's offers delivery, patrons who appear at the eatery treat their senses to a feast: clusters of colorful baubles cast light on shiny hardwood benches and a bar, backdropped by vibrant paintings.
After building up a restaurant empire throughout Europe and India, Parveen Malhotra assembled a team in Forest Hills to cultivate a menu of Indian cuisine that draws from regions throughout the subcontinent. Diners at Haveli can feast on lamb and chicken kababs from along the northern borders, or they can sample eseafood and shrimp curries from coastal Goa and Cochin. Dishes of Bombay bhel puri rice puffs and okra bhindi masala arrive in colorful, elegant arrangements, while an extensive list of wines and tropical martinis pair perfectly with every meal.
The restaurant’s interior evokes its namesake Haveli—a term for a mansion reserved for the upper echelons of Indian society. Crystal chandeliers cast light onto linen covered tables, white leather sofas, and table settings of crisp napkins. From the saffron-colored walls, murals of jewel-bedecked elephants parade past dinner tables, while paintings of Mughal rulers look down upon banquet spreads with stern, peckish looks.
Though its name suggests an exotic location in the Himalayan foothills, Delhi Heights is just a short drive from Manhattan in Jackson Heights. A menu that focuses on traditional Indian and Indo-Chinese fusion dishes makes the short trek worth it. One of the restaurant’s signature dishes is the dahi aloo papri chat, and one bite of the textured blend of crispy potatoes, chickpeas, and tamarind sauce shows why. Chefs prepare dozens of their other entrees in a tandoori clay oven, enhancing jumbo shrimp and achari mushrooms with smoky flavor without having to cook each individually on the tip of a cigar.
In a kitchen that sits at the end of the long dining room, chefs at the Zagat-rated Mumbai Grill prepare a broad range of fresh, healthy, halal Indian cuisine. Diners can kick off meals with an order of onion bhajia—onion fritters dipped in chick peas and then battered, fried, and lightly tickled—before moving on to one of the eatery’s tandoori clay oven specialties. The house special tandoori shrimp is marinated in mint and coriander sauce and doused with white pepper before it enters the oven. Refreshing lassi drinks can refresh tastebuds in flavors such as strawberry, rose, sweet, salted, and mango.
In the 19th century, British rule in the city of Nanking created an influx of travelers from abroad, uniquely altering the local cuisine in the process. The cooks at Nanking continue this hodgepodge culinary philosophy with a menu that seamlessly blends Chinese, Thai, and Indian dishes. Diners can explore a diverse array of lamb, goat, and vegetarian dishes from India or Asian chicken and noodle dishes, garnished with Indian herbs or smothered in Manchurian sauces.