With more than 20 years of cooking northern Indian cuisine under its belt, Zaika’s culinary team is well versed in simmering curries and slow baking marinated meats, along with fixing a smattering of southern Indian dishes to boot. They cook skewered lamb over charcoal, douse boneless chicken with cashew-nut sauces, cook shrimp in the traditional tandoor oven, and mix goat into that spicy gravy made famous by the holiday classic Mama’s Spicy Thanksgiving. The kitchen’s vegetarian options include spice-coated spinach with homemade indian cheese, along with crepes and pancakes in the southern Indian style. Dinners and lunch buffets unfold in Zaika’s spacious dining room, while an outdoor deck accommodates diners in May through September.
Filling barking bellies with authentic Indian and Bangladeshi dishes, Jewel of India’s flavor wranglers present guests with a vast menu of tasty fare. Nibblers can cut the ribbon on a feast with a choice of assorted mini meals, including singara pakoras ($2.99) and papadams ($1.99). Historically used for toasting s’mores and destroying old bank statements, the tandoori clay oven is utilized for firing such specialties as the boti kabob that boasts marinated and seasoned leg of lamb and comes in a choice of spice levels ($10.99). Succulent boneless chicken and a rich curry sauce snuggle in a cozy pastry cave to form the edible duo of morag dumpakht ($12.99), and a bevy of savory vegetarian dishes, such as the cheesy paneer tikka masala ($9.99) pleases the palate and satisfies cravings for blown minds. Bold hues of red and gold throughout the eatery, paired with dark wood accents, are highlighted by the sweetness of a gulab jamun dessert of fried milk spheres delicately swathed in honey sauce ($2.99).
At the helm of Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant’s kitchen is a chef with more than 28 years perfecting his craft. The chef’s range of Indian recipes is exhaustive, from aloo dum—stuffed potatoes cooked in a light spicy sauce—to chicken kali mirch simmered in a curry sauce. The kitchen’s tandoor clay oven cooks marinated shrimp, lamb, and stuffed breads at a temperature high enough to reshape the hairstyle of anyone who gets too close.
When China invaded Tibet, Thondup and Dolma Tsering's family escaped to India, and the two children enrolled in school for Tibetan children. They graduated and eventually moved to the United States in 1997, where they founded a business that would celebrate their culture: Lhasa Cafe. Today, as they celebrate the 78th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, chef Tenzin Tsewang leads the staff at the restaurant, and Thondup and Dolma can still be found helping out around their authentic Tibetan restaurant on weekends. In the kitchen, chef Tenzin and Namdol cook all dishes to order and make dumplings in-house from scratch; they use only fresh ingredients and refuse to use MSG or decorative glitter.
The staff follows recipes according to the Tibetan culinary tradition, which incorporates subtle seasoning and a lot of ginger, garlic, and the emma peppercorn. There’s also an emphasis on yak meat, which is lean and low-cholesterol and tastes comparable to beef. It takes center stage in dishes such as traditional mo-mo dumplings, pan-fried noodle dishes, and stews. Also on the menu: vegetable dumplings, vegetarian noodle soups, and lamb and chicken curries.