As customers might guess from looking at the wooden sitars and paintings of musicians hanging on the walls, raaga means "sweet melody." In the kitchen, chefs blend spices to create their own complex harmonies of northern Indian flavors. Clay ovens roast tandoori chicken along with shrimp and salmon fillets marinated in spices. Sixteen vegetarian specialties, including croquettes stuffed with raisins, cashews, and housemade cottage cheese, wait to be sopped up with nine different Indian breads and a selection of napkins. For dessert, servers deliver dishes of the signature mango kulfi, an ice cream flavored with mango and cardamom.
IndAroma's inventive chefs ferry flavors across culinary borders, regaling tongues with francophilicly enlivened Indian classics. The menu teems with curries, kebabs, naan pizzas, and succulent wraps, such as the marinated, tandoori-baked lamb kebab in cucumber sauce ($7.50), which provides the portable edibility of a laptop made of toffee. Rummage through the samosa chaat ($4.90), a treasure chest of chickpea curry, onions, mint, and spicy garlic-and-tamarind sauce or seek the comfort of boneless chicken biryani's flavorful warmth ($8.99). Petit fours and éclairs bask alongside a profusion of cakes each as sweet and unique as the fingerprint of an Oompa Loompa and served by the slice in flavors such as black forest, mango, and pistachio.
Fashioned after Jaipur, a gem of Rajasthan, Jaipur Royal Indian Cuisine excites the senses with aromatic spice mixes prepared separately each day for each dish. Among an interior of authentic figurines in elaborate dress and strung beads baring images of vibrantly colored birds, they serve a menu of traditional dishes rooted in North Indian cuisines. That includes rich grilled lamb, chicken, and seafood, as well as complex curries and plenty of fresh vegetarian dishes. They welcome guests to pair such variety of tastes with flavorful beverages such as aam ki lassi, a whipped mango and yogurt drink.
If Cafe Taj’s large stone fountain could talk, the rippling waters would still keep mum, because the restaurant’s authentic Indian cuisine can speak for itself. Warm naan and whole-wheat roti sop up creamy curry sauce from main dishes, and the black tables are loaded down with charcoal-roasted tandoori dishes for pairing with both wine and beer from a fully stocked bar. After sating sugar cravings with rose- and cardamom-scented sweets, patrons can question servers about their catering services or use the dining room’s Romanesque columns to kick off a backflip in honor of an evening well spent.
The Indian, Pakistani, and Nepalese chefs at the newly relocated Sangam Restaurant build authentic, region-specific dishes with fresh ingredients and bold spices. Diners peruse the menu to choose starters including the aloo tikki, potato patties seasoned with cumin and herbs ($4.50) to form a more intricate flavor than a 1,000-piece filet mignon puzzle. Chefs make mouths water and flames dance with dramatic tableside presentations of entrees such as the Sangam sizzling feast of tandoori chicken and prawns served alongside boti and seekh kebabs ($20.95). Vegetarians and rebellious T. rex teenagers opt for the malai kofta curry's croquettes of cheese in a creamy tomato sauce ($9.95) or the Sangam daal with black or yellow lentils sautéed with ginger and garlic ($9.95).
Vibrant murals—swirling with reds, blues, and yellows—blanket the walls and ceiling, plush banquettes flank glass coffee tables in an upscale bar area, and alternating mocha- and tan-hued wood panels cover the floor. The overt beauty of the upscale dining area is showcased on a smaller scale in golden cubes of housemade cheese that bob amid a pool of creamy tomato sauce in Tandoori Nights’ paneer makhani dish. Fresh out of a clay oven, a whole red snapper pops against the backdrop of its white plate. These Zagat-rated dishes (very good to excellent), along with chicken curries and rice speckled with dry fruits, flaunt bright hues worthy of the ubiquitous vivacity of the restaurant's decor and a peacock strutting down a catwalk.
Zaika (formerly Tandoori Nights) is part of the Indaze Group, which owns a few area restaurants. Anil Miglani started the group to spread goodwill through culinary adventures, and he calls upon his family's extensive background in the New Delhi restaurant scene to achieve that vision. However, Miglani's toolkit boasts more than just culinary utensils. He earned a master's degree in architecture in Oklahoma and cultivated a career in design before entering the cuisine business. It wouldn't be a stretch to call Tandoori Nights the exquisite fruition of Miglani's two passions.