Taj Palace stays foodie-friendly with an expansive menu teeming with popular plates from Southeast Asia. Traditional Islamic eating laws are easily abided with the menu's exclusively Halal meat selection, where goat, lamb and chicken live harmoniously on plates teeming with spicy adornments. The tender Rogan Josh comes with your choice of lamb or goat meat, swimming through a heavily spiced sea of sauce ($13.95). The clay Tandoori oven spits out meat and seafood alike, and sautéed Kebabs stabbed through chicken, lamb, and various veggies take the guesswork out of selecting a side dish. The supplemental Chinese food menu offers another kind of Far East fare with a medley of fried rice, noodle, and chicken dishes. For those economical eaters who like to wash down their spicy Indian cuisine with a refreshing drink, the owners encourage the practice of BYOB.
The chefs at India Palace embrace traditional Indian recipes and cooking techniques, customizing the spice of each entree to meet diners’ preferences. In the kitchen, an imported tandoor uses smoldering mesquite charcoal to raise temperatures within its clay walls up to 550 degrees, roasting marinated servings of chicken, lamb, or shrimp as thoroughly as a deep-fryer full of magma. For their vegetarian options, the chefs can toss vegetables with house-made cottage cheese or aromatic basmati rice.
According to Patch, India Palace also features a small market next door to the restaurant, which emphasizes fresh produce, assorted varieties of rice, and traditional spices from India and South Asia.
There is more to chef Mohammad Rahman’s menu than the staples that diners have come to expect from an Indian restaurant, although crowd favorites do have reserved places. Rahman and his wife, Salma Khanam—who is the restaurant’s maitre d’—incorporate flavors from their homeland of Bangladesh, including fish fry combos and shak bhaji (made with custom-spiced spinach). Halal meats such as fish, lamb, goat, and chicken star in rich curry dishes, nicely accompanied by warm naan fresh from the tandoor oven. The eatery's lunch buffet pits stomachs against a bounty of dishes, piled high with delectables to reward diners who wore their nicest stilettos. Kitchen of India’s environment is warm and romantic, with white tablecloths serving as elegant yet neutral complements to colorful paintings and carved sculptures.
You could say that Shamim and Riffat Rana are passionate about Asian cuisine. So passionate, in fact, that they have overcome great odds to become—and remain—a local go-to dining establishment. The duo founded the original O's Place in Woodlawn in 2002, growing their cozy eatery through hard work, dedication, and support from the community. By 2005, their success necessitated a move to a larger space on Security Boulevard. But three years later, it looked as though their good fortune might come to an end: that’s when the thriving eatery burned down in an electrical fire.
Somehow, Shamim and Riffat never lost hope. Instead, they found a new culinary home on the second floor of Seoul Plaza, where patrons now sit in the food court outside or within the eatery’s charming dining room decorated with Asian-inspired artwork and flowers. Using the same culinary formula that gained the restaurant its initial popularity, the family-friendly eatery boasts a large assortment of Chinese and South Asian buffet dishes, kept warm and working on their tans under heat lamps. For specific cravings, diners may also order from lunch and dinner menus full of Pakistani and Indian specialties, including tandoori chicken and beef nihari.
Tulsi Indian Restaurant takes its name from the holy basil plant—an herb celebrated in India for its healing properties and rich aroma. Intense, otherworldy flavors and scents permeate each dish, from tender chicken tikka marinated in paprika and yogurt, to lamb rogan josh cooked in a blend of freshly ground spices. Guests dine on South Asian delicacies of seafood, chicken, and lamb with fluffy naan and roti or feast from the extensive vegetarian selection, with dishes of roasted eggplant, veggie stews, and creamy paneer.
The successful union of Indian and Thai flavors inside a chic, BYOB space has helped Spice Indian Thai Bistro earn praise from local press, including The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Craig LaBan who calls the eatery “one of the suburbs' best all-around Indian kitchens.” Round tables and cozy booths stretch across an expanse of rustic tile flooring, overlooked by saffron and burnt-orange walls and plentiful wood accents. Though the lighting is dim and romantic, it cannot mask the vibrant colors of chicken korma, lamb biryani, and hot-and-spicy Thai curries laced with coconut milk and enough bamboo shoots to please.