Masala Kitchen’s chefs use a bevy of spices to craft an authentic Indian menu of vegetarian and meat dishes. Kick things off with a sizzling appetizer, such as assorted veg pakoras—seasonal vegetables fried into fritters—or chicken tikka kathi, which features shredded chicken sautéed and stuffed in thin bread. Forks or pocket-size augers then dig through entrees piled on mounds of rice, scooping herbivore-friendly fare such as yellow tadka dal—a heaping of lentils loaded with garlic, chopped onion, and cumin seeds. Meaty dishes include kadhai chicken that’s seasoned with curry pepper, cumin, and garlic, and kashmiri lamb roganjosh, a boneless slab of lamb dressed to the nines in decadent onion sauce. Alternatively, the buffet grants all-you-can-eat access to patrons looking to sample everything or simply indulge endlessly in a favorite, and allows them to marvel at bottomless soda glasses yet to be explained by man’s limited understanding of physics.
Paradise Biryani Pointe’s thin curtains allow just enough light to illuminate plates topped with halal meats and traditional veggie dishes culled from Indo Chinese, north Indian, and south Indian recipes. House specialties include egg biryani with long-grained basmati rice cooked with veggies and hard-boiled eggs in the secret style of hyderabadi nawabi cooking. They also prepare traditional favorites including chicken tikka, goat curry, and fish curry.
The chef at Zaika Barbeque & Grill pulls 14 years of experience out of his hat as he prepares traditional Pakistani dishes cooked- and spiced-to-order with halal ingredients. As he barbecues chicken, lamb, and beef, he locks spices and flavors into kebabs, whereas his tandoor oven slowly lets juicy chicken tikka stew and gather up as much flavor as it can. Waiters guide diners through the wide selection of entrees, which includes vegetarian curries and rice dishes. A petite menu of Pakistani desserts coddles sweet teeth after dinner, assuaging their ever-present, irrational fear of the tooth fairy.
Against walls of pure white and an ornate carpet laced with swirling embroidered flora, statuettes of horses rear up over steaming trays, hinting at unbridled fistfuls of spices. From the kitchen emerge golden knots of samosas alongside korma dishes and halal meats, and Punjabi and Mughlai influences gleam through in some concoctions. When the buffet is in action, more than 60 items fill the gleaming banquet table, which billows hot steam that foretells of fresh-from-the-oven tandoori dishes and goat biryani. A chandelier illuminates the perimeter of Shahnawaz Palace's banquet space, which staff configures for a variety of events, whether it is the large head table for a joyful wedding or the heaps of folding chairs for a wedding between professional wrestlers.
A union of Middle Eastern and Western cultures, Fire N Ice Hookah Bar combines the laid-back charm of a hookah lounge with the music and swank of a nightclub. Customers roam through the electric bi-level space flooded by soft colorful lighting before picking their poison—hookah, drinks, food, or all three.
In the hookah lounge, they curl up on plush sofas cushioned by satiny pillows and reach out every so often to grasp the hookah pipe as it’s passed around, inhaling any one of 25 exotic hookah flavors. The smoke spirals up toward Middle Eastern tapestries hanging overhead or snakes around the top-shelf cocktails perched beside the pipe. It even intermingles briefly with the aromas wafting from Middle Eastern dishes—such as chicken tikka, korma sliders, and kebabs—before vanishing into the air as quickly as a magician at a science fair.
As the night lingers on, Fire N Ice begins its transformation into a full-blown nightclub. Belly dancers take to the stage first, twisting and shimmying across the spacious dance floor. By 11 p.m., the club's three DJs begin spinning top R & B and hip-hop hits intermixed with a few Arabian jams, signaling to guests that it's their turn to hit the floor.
The deep green of cooked spinach. The sunset orange of tikka masala sauce. Ginger, curry, chilies, and fenugreek contribute their colors to the rainbow of dishes at Kabana. Forks click gently against plates polished clean by tufts of naan bread baked with butter and sesame seeds. In the kitchen, chefs cook chicken tikka and tandoori dishes slowly by putting them in a clay oven or quickly by talking through a dragon’s favorite movie scene.