“Indian food.” Those two words call to mind a handful of ubiquitous dishes but hardly capture the subcontinent’s wealth of regional cuisines. Wild Chutneys Indian Cuisine goes beyond what’s expected to introduce palates to a new world of fragrant spices and colorful curries. The menu reads like Marco Polo’s travelogue, spanning nearly all of India and Pakistan with regional dishes such as goan fish curry, peshawari biryani, and the fluffy naan that once paved the Silk Road. Clay ovens bake dishes of chicken tikka and ginger-infused lamb chops to tender perfection, and stews of black lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes, and okra ensure ample options for vegetarians.
The cooks at Amruth Indian Kitchen embrace pan-regional Indian flavors in dishes made exclusively with halal meats. A clay tandoor oven bakes fragrant naan and roasts skewers of yogurt-marinated meats, which then top tables illuminated by pendant lamps. The lunch and dinner buffet lining the restaurant's back wall typically brims with more than 30 choices, and features a spread of vegetarian-only entrees on Thursday evenings. Although Amruth Indian Kitchen doesn't serve alcohol, they do invite diners to bring a bottle of wine from home or squeeze their own by filling a pant pocket with grapes.
The chefs at Ohry's Indian Cuisine create southern and northern Indian dishes flavored with unique combinations of spices and ingredients. Specialty entrees include a wide variety of vegetarian options, such as the mushroom masala or stir-fried vegetables, and Chinese specialties also extend the borders of the expansive menu.
Vindu Indian Cuisine celebrates distinct culinary traditions from the whole of India with a variety of pan-Indian dinner items. Clay tandoori ovens fire flavor into skewered and marinated lamb, chicken, and prawns, each served with heaping helpings of naan with which to cradle the meaty morsels or to use as edible bibs. Chefs show off a knack for sweet and spicy culinary fusion on the Indo-Chinese menu, whose dishes show off masterful hybrids of Indian recipes made with Asian sauces and cooking methods. Vindu also highlights distinct Indian regions with South Indian specialties that include a roster of vegetarian lentil-flour dosas served with three types of chutney, as well as North Indian specialties.
As far as fires go, it could have been much worse—the May 2012 blaze that sparked suddenly in Kalachandji’s kitchen was put out by firefighters, and no one was injured. However, the kitchen was destroyed, and smoke damaged the rest of the building. In the days that followed, the community was left to wonder if and when the beloved space would return to its former opulence. Kalachandji’s has been part of the neighborhood for more than 30 years, billing itself as Dallas’s oldest continuously operating vegetarian restaurant. As part of the local Hare Krishna temple, it bore a majestic charm that was somehow different from even the city’s most elegant dining establishments and treehouses. With devotion and patience, the temple members were able to reopen their restaurant in early 2013; the Dallas Observer celebrated their efforts, writing that “we're relieved to see the restaurant open and unscathed.” Inside, as before, there is a different stained-glass window in each booth, bathing shiny espresso tabletops with colorful swatches of light. A wide stone stairway leads out to the patio, where dark, swirled pillars support yellow archways that seem to glow in the light of hanging lanterns. In the center, a large tree draped with white twinkle lights stretches up to the open ceiling, hinting at the stars sparkling above its branches. Even the kitchen is a sight to behold—here, women wrapped in saris and men with the traditional yellow line painted down their foreheads prepare whatever meat-free dishes suit the staff's whims that day. The mainly Indian buffet has some permanent fixtures—vegetable curry, dal (a bean soup), and rice pudding—but a different international entree appears every day, sating appetites with lasagna one day and enchiladas the next. Many dishes are prepared using Ayurvedic techniques that, like the most respected gossip blogs, date back nearly 5,000 years, though some recipes are updated to accommodate vegan and gluten-free diets. Kalachandji’s is popular enough to offer cooking classes that teach people how to prepare the food served in the restaurant. But there’s something about being in the restaurant itself: as the Observer noted when they named it 2012’s Best Vegetarian Food, Kalachandji’s "finds its way onto our list year after year. … But we’ll never tire of sitting in their beautiful garden patio, eating dal and vegetable curry and drinking tamarind tea.”
When A.J. Duggal made plans to open the Indian restaurant known as Kebab N Kurry in 1982, he wanted to do it right. The restaurateur searched for culinary experts who could make his eatery as authentic as possible, eventually staffing his kitchen with chefs who were born and raised in India. Over the next 25 years, that kitchen served as a laboratory: chefs experimented with new aromas and flavors until they had devised a menu of dishes they hoped could be called the best in Dallas. With that, a new restaurant was born. India West by Ross Duggal reveals these years of hard work in a pair of elegant dining rooms that brim with exotic aromas. Led by A.J.'s son Ross Duggal, the restaurant's chefs use the indigenous spices and cooking techniques of Northern India to make vindaloos, biryanis, and tandoori dishes, which pair well with 11 types of bread and an extensive wine list.
In the main dining room, stone detailing on the walls creates a modern, earthy vibe offset by the rectangular light fixtures that bathe tables in ambient light. A curtained entryway leads guests into the West Lounge, where a red mosaic ceiling joins a crackling fireplace to impart a scarlet glow over modern, minimalist seating that can accommodate up to 30. For private events, wedding rehearsals, and birthday parties, groups of up to 50 can take over the Oval Room, where the ancient adornment of a framed Indian tapestry faces off with modern amenities such as an LCD projector and a built-in viewing screen. Diners can also take their meals on an outdoor patio area that—like the heart of a jilted maharaja—is surrounded by a stone border.