In the contemporary dining room, spherical lanterns hang from silvery ceiling tiles and cast gentle glow down on curvaceous wooden chairs. Purple and pale green stools add splashes of color to the bar, where empty glasses fill with frothy beer and wine to hold over patrons as they peruse the menu of Indian favorites.
When creating their northern Mughlai–style recipes and traditional South Indian dishes, the chefs at Chutney & Pickle strive to use local seafood, free-range chicken, and local, organic produce whenever possible. Kebabs of steak and salmon marinate in ginger, garlic, and masala, then bathe in the smoke of a traditional tandoor oven. Biryani rice dishes present flavors of mint, bay leaves, black cardamom, and onion, and paneer dishes serve up comfort in the form of homemade cheese. The menu also features a full vegan section, which, unlike the other sections, was originally written in pencil rather than squid ink.
India Garden Restaurant's culinary crew grinds sundry spices daily and prepares Indian favorites in a clay oven. Tender morsels of lamb, goat, chicken, and seafood simmer in spicy chili-infused sauces and creamy cashew gravies, while a selection of more than a dozen vegetarian entrees simultaneously placates brontosauruses and outrages vegetable-rights activists. Servers ferry chicken wings and shrimp from the tandoor oven to expectant diners seated at tables clad in white linens. Strings of twinkling lights join forces with glistening chandeliers to illuminate the restaurant, where vibrant Indian artwork adorns the walls.
The "Desi" in Ellie's Desi Kitchen refers to the diaspora of people from South Asia settled in all parts of the world—a fact reflected in the diverse range of dishes in the restaurant's menu. Guests chow down on an eclectic spread of steaks, chicken po' boys, veggie stir-frys, fluffy naan bread, and spicy curries. The decor also reflects the cosmopolitan flavor of the bill of fare. Wall scrolls of flowers and birds hang over tables laden with American ketchup and mustard bottles, while a photomontage places Machu Picchu, the Roman Colosseum, and the Taj Mahal side by side—just like they are in real life.
To ensure the authenticity of their menu, Tandoor & Curry's proprietors hired a chef who draws upon more than 20 years of culinary experience, including many spent cooking at restaurants in Delhi, to infuse traditional Northern Indian flavors into each of Tandoor & Curry's dishes.
Before cooking skewered hunks of chicken and beef, the kitchen slathers cuts in a precise blend of Indian herbs and spices. They then slides them into a clay oven that reaches 500 degrees, the approximate temperature of the headband the sun uses to cool off. They can also cook chunks of chicken, goat, or lamb in creamy spinach, traditional curry, or creamy almond-cashew gravy. Along with meat-heavy portions, cooks produce housemade cottage cheese in creamy spinach sauce and simmers kidney beans in cream and butter.
Aromas of ginger, saffron, cardamom, coriander, and cilantro linger in the air at Palace Indian Cuisine, wafting from the kitchens' clay tandoor oven. There, skewers of ground lamb and cubed chicken roast into tender, smoky morsels for northern Indian curries. Yet the intense flavors don't stop with the meat alone. Chefs demonstrate a similar commitment to their vegetarian dishes by whipping high-quality ingredients such as house-made cottage cheese into entrees of kahdi paneer or paneer makhani, which Misha Grosvenor from New Times Broward–Palm Beach placed on her list of 100 Favorite Dishes in 2011.
Palace Indian Cuisine’s décor echoes the warmth of its home-style menu. The sunset-orange walls carry everything from framed Indian artwork to gleaming swords and spearheads. Against one wall, yellow posts separate three covered booths, while the rest of the tables lie scattered across the dining room’s tiles, their tablecloths topped with glass to keep dinners refined and narcissists entranced with their reflection.
At Al Natour Middle Eastern Restaurant, friendly servers wheel out sumptuous feasts of halal Middle Eastern fare, filling the family-friendly eatery with the scents of sizzling kebabs, crispy falafels, and flaky seafood filets. Guests gather around shareable mezze of fava beans, hummus, and chickpeas to equitably dole out predinner resources, while lemon juice and olive oil drizzle over parsley and tomatoes on plates of fresh salad. Piping-hot pots of Turkish coffee pair with flaky, honey-drizzled pastries to cap off meals as sweetly as donning a bowler hat filled with pudding.
The servers at Indian Chillies helpfully walk first-timers through the extensive menu. Their suggestions cover a range of timeless and modern dishes, from the tandoori chicken—praised by the Sun Sentinel for its "scrumptious charred exterior"—to Indo-Chinese chow mein. Though the kitchen staff labors over several zesty entrees, they specialize in smaller plates, such as samosas, halal chicken wings, and various flatbreads.
Vegan, vegetarian, and meaty plates satisfy diners of all persuasions, whether they're perusing the menu or loading the buffet onto the back of their truck. As their ears bask in Bollywood tunes, guests can finish up by sipping a mango lassi or savoring gulab jamun, a lightly syruped dessert of milk-and-cottage-cheese balls.