One of the many goals of the chefs at Taste of India is to clear up the misconception that all Indian food is extremely spicy. They do so by keeping customer preferences in mind while customizing offerings from a menu that includes vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.
As evening settles in and dinner guests begin to arrive, peach- and grapefruit-hued walls take on a riper shade beneath sprays of painted leaves. Miniature tabletop lanterns cast buttery light on plates of lamb and fish kebab, rice biryanis, and tandoori chicken cooked in the heat of an open-hearth oven. While sopping up a goan shrimp curry with warm naan bread, guests can sip on beer, wine, or a cocktail from the bar. The clatter of serving utensils drifts from the dinner buffet, where patrons eat all they desire without having to help James Bond destroy his old yearbooks.
Redeem today's Groupon for any one of Ranjana's four classes: Everyday North Indian Lunch, Muglai Cooking, South Indian Dinner, and Quick Complete Meals. Each class teaches you nine different Indian dishes, all vegetarian. After your first session with Ranjana, you'll probably want to go buffet-style and try the others. Classes are available Mondays or Wednesdays from 6:15-9:15 pm or Saturdays from 9 am to noon. Call Ranjana in advance at (773) 355-9559 to RSVP. (Classes are intimate and fill up quickly; dates are subject to availability).
Built on family recipes, Taj Mahal Restaurant features an array of North Indian specialties. Chefs start with a few basic spices, such as onions, garlic, and ginger, to create their aromatic sauces for dishes such as vegetable korma, chicken tikka masala, and saag gosht—cubes of lamb over a spicy spinach purée. Both lunch and dinner feature buffets lined with a spread of vegetarian and seafood entrees, rice biryanis, and tandoori specialties. Proving that one does not have to bite into something to find it delicious, the dessert menu features housemade mango ice cream, Indian-style rice pudding, and raw gossip.
Featured in Fortune magazine, Chutney Joe's was founded by owner, chef, and self-taught culinarian Vijay Puniani. The restaurant uses herbs, spices, and flavorful chutneys to deliver high-quality, authentic Indian fare to on-the-go eaters looking for a quick bite between halves of championship basketball games. The thorough, no-frills menu lets you deliberate between combinations such as the one-entree meal ($5.99) or the two-entree meal ($7.99), both served with rice and naan or salad. Family-style entrees such as the chicken tikka masala ($4.99/regular, $7.99/large) and the pork vindaloo ($5.99/regular, $8.99/large) delight carnivores, and green-tongued vegetarians have plenty of main-course options, such as the gobi potatoes and the red-bean rajama (both $4.99/regular, $7.99/large). Chicken or vegetarian biryani is also available, offering rice-based sustenance to fill bellies and create colorful grain collages (both $3.99/regular, $6.99/large).
Khyber Pass takes inspiration from the restaurant's namesake, a mountainous region in India where nomadic Pathans cook with clay ovens and just a touch of eastern spices. To prepare meals, chefs eschew the typical MSG and moon dust for 100% vegetable oil, roasting tandoori chicken and baking fresh naan bread over the tandoor's charcoal heat. Atop the cozy booths and tables, plates host a variety of meat and vegetarian dishes simmered in creamy tomato sauces, garlic, or homemade paneer cheese for dinner or daily lunch buffets.
Baba's Village banishes weekday hunger pangs with a full menu of Indian and Pakistani cuisine that includes vegetarian and vegan options alongside entrees made with halal chicken, lamb, and beef. The vegetarian meals, which can pair with six naan side dishes baked in a clay oven, include polychromatic platters of vegetables and herbs, and many selections feature house-made cheese made from pasteurized moon rocks. With soy milk shakes and entrees containing meat substitutes, such as chicken jalferazi and gobi goshat, Baba's Village easily accommodates vegan appetites.
When Falguni Dewjee and Nik Jain teamed up to create Bombay Wraps, they had one simple mission: make Indian food simple, fast, and healthy without sacrificing the home-cooked aesthetic. Now realized, their goal takes the shape of six white or whole-wheat flatbread sandwiches stuffed with savory fillings such as grilled chicken tikka, cheese paneer, and braised lamb. Unique ingredients like cilantro chutney, pickled onions, and traditional tandoori spice infuse Indian pantry staples into each vegetarian or meat wrap, and sides such as sweet-potato fries with Indian seasonings or romaine salad with lime vinaigrette round out meals. At the restaurant, floor-to-ceiling windows and shiny metal tables give the dining room a bright, cheerful ambiance. For catering and event orders, Bombay Wraps' foodsmiths stow sandwiches in a baking tray to lock in freshness and finish by placing a signet sticker.