Executive chef Vipul Bhasin brings more than 18 years of global cooking experience to Coriander. Eschewing many modern marvels of meal making, Bhasin cooks his cuisine with traditional Indian appliances such as the tandoor oven, the kadai cast-iron pot, and the Aishwarya Rai smoldering gaze in his one-man quest to put microwave repairmen out of work. This passion for tradition is reflected in Coriander's décor: adorning the brightly painted walls are handmade tapestries representing different regions of India, including an astonishingly lifelike one that resembles a parking lot outside an Indian restaurant (look closely and it almost seems to move). Patrons can also unfurl the bamboo blinds between each of the restaurant's booths for a stronger secret-sharing shield than stage whispering.
Bombay Local Pizza's chefs put a twist on Italy's beloved dish by adding Indian ingredients like paneer. The restaurant's selection of more than 20 pies includes a pizza topped with samosa filling and the Bombay Masala?seasoned with Indian spices used in traditional street foods?along with more traditional options such as tomato basil and white pizzas. Indian ingredients like mint-coriander chutney also show up on the eatery's sub sandwiches, which include the masala eggplant and the barbecue cheddar melt.
Khyber Indian Fusion's Goa-born chef swirls the flavors of various savory Indian dishes together into a single menu. A charcoal-fueled oven imparts a hint of its smokiness and all of its long-winded stories to the chicken malai kebab, a roasted poultry dish marinated in almond, fresh cream, and signature herbs ($11.99). Golden orbs of fried veggie dumplings languor in a mild manchurian sauce ($10.49), and curry leaves and coconut batter freshwater shellfish in a Goan-style curry ($15.99). The Mumtaaz goat biryani simmers cubes of its titular meat over a tame fire with basmati rice and indian herbs ($14.49) for a slow-cooked dish that leaves tongues as happy as a clown at a makeup counter.
A crystal chandelier hangs over tables topped with crisp white tablecloths at this elegant restaurant, which transports Cherry HIll diners overseas via a menu of authentic Indian cuisine. You can scoop chicken curry onto homemade slices of airy, deep-fried puri bread, or savor a dish of lamb biryani atop a bed of basmati rice. Chefs use traditional clay ovens to charcoal-fire tandoori shrimp and cornish hens. For vegetarians, there's an extensive selection that ranges from aloo palak?a spicy mixture of chicken and potatoes?to mircha bhagara, jalape?o peppers infused with coconut and sesame sauce. The restaurant also offers American cuisine, such as fried flounder and grilled chicken. Diners can top off a savory meal with a sweet serving of gulab jamun?warm, nutty cheese balls drenched in syrup.
Ajit and Lata Mody created the original Rajbhog Cafe as a way to provide the local Indian community with traditional South Asian sweets and snacks. The idea quickly caught on outside of the community, however, and over the last 20 years, Rajbhog Cafe has established locations in four different states. At each outpost, the staff still hand crafts as many as 140 different types of Indian sweets?all made using rich ghee and mawa?although they also stock the stores with roti, paneer cheese, frozen curry entrees, and other treats. Rajbhog Cafe invites diners to stop in, grab a seat, and enjoy a freshly cooked meal or take their order to-go.
Indian cuisine made with seasonal ingredients and an American flair.
When to Go: Swing by on a Thursday night if you fancy live sitar and tabla music, but go any other night if you prefer humming your own tunes while you chew.
Inside Tip: The restaurant is BYOB, so pick up your favorite bottle of wine or six-pack of beer before dinner.
Chaat: savory Indian snack food made of potatoes, fried bread, and a spice medley that typically includes dried mango powder, cumin seeds, and black salt.
Paneer: a fresh cheese made from boiling cow's milk or water buffalo's milk and curdling it with whey—the dish dates back to at least 6,000 BC.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Test your crafting skills at All Fired Up (602 Haddon Avenue), a studio devoted to paint-your-own pottery.
After: See what's happening at the Scottish Rite Auditorium (315 White Horse Pike), a historic 1930s venue that hosts musical acts and theater performances.
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: If you're in Philly for the evening, head to Indeblue's sister location (205 S. 13th Street).