At India Nepal Oven, owner and chef Chhiring Lakpa Lama fuses together South Asian influences to build a menu that equally and tastily represents the countries of India and Nepal. The restaurant's Nepalese specialties dazzle taste buds with diverse flavors found in the spiced lamb kebobs, chili with deep-fried chicken, and vegetable dumplings, which can be steamed, fried, or tossed as confetti at a vegetarian's birthday party. Of the Indian dishes, the chicken entrees are quite popular, including the spicy vindaloo prepared with potatoes and hot curry sauce. A vast selection of breads also garners popularity with the potato-stuffed alu paratha and the kabuli naan, which emerges out of a tandoori oven to surprise palates with a sweet cherry filling.
The glowing embers of mesquite charcoal lines a traditional clay oven inside India's Best Restaurant & Bar, where chefs cook fish and chicken marinated in a blend of yogurt, garlic, ginger, and traditional Indian spices. The culinary team also prepares a slew of specialty Indian dishes including chicken doused in housemade butter sauce and lamb madras cooked in spices hot enough to help accelerate nuclear fusion in the sun's core. After they dish out entrees, servers cart desserts such as Indian-style ice cream to tables and booths in the dining room, which is lined with sky-blue, red, and marigold arches painted on the wall.
At Little India Restaurant, authenticity permeates the food, art, and music. Owned by the Baidwan and Malhotra families and staffed with northern India–trained chefs, the restaurant is a multiyear winner of numerous prizes, including CityVoter's award for Best Indian cuisine. Chefs grill meats over mesquite charcoal in the tandoori oven, and season curries with onion, garlic, and ginger. Handcrafted mint-cilantro and tamarind chutneys create opportunities for 11 types of bread to sneak toward unsuspecting droplets of spice-filled sauce, whereas potatoes soften the heat quotient of fiery vindaloos. Within the dining room, calming sitar music fills the air and larger-than-life paintings of food-based revelry decorate the walls and come to life at tables.
Bombay Bowl's owner, Amar, says he "grew up in an East Indian kitchen," where he attentively learned his family's generations-old knowledge of the region's aromatic and salutary spices. Although his menu features the familiar combinations of turmeric, ginger, and coriander, he set out to infuse his Indian cuisine with a home-style casual, health-conscious environment. The cooks eschew trans fats and artificial flavorings, seeking out all-natural beef and chicken, chopping vibrant vegetables, and baking fresh naan in their kitchen instead. With these ingredients, diners can choose a bowl of long-grain basmati rice topped with meaty or vegetarian proteins, sauces, and chutneys. The chefs also whip up gluten-free and vegan options, accommodating virtually any diet.
Though the interior of the Sherpa House Restaurant is fragrant with the smells of naan bread and spiced curries, this tantalizing cuisine is only part of the eatery's allure. The space itself functions something like a museum, except that visitors can actually take a seat and speak above a whisper. Built as a reproduction of a traditional Sherpa house in Nepal, the restaurant seats diners in a family room with a kitchen, in a buffet room beneath a thatched roof, or on a patio perched beneath waving flags. A shrine room, photo gallery, and museum room with traditional artifacts afford more in-depth peeks at the rich culture and history of the Sherpa people, who are widely known for their mountaineering skills.
Behind the scenes, chefs work carefully to make sure that their entrees accurately capture the seasonings and healthfulness that Nepal's cuisine is known for. Cumin, garlic, tomatoes, and ginger spice up pieces of beef, lamb, whitefish, and yak. Naan bread, which they bake in a clay oven and cool on a windowsill atop Mount Everest, soaks up savory pools of curry, stew, and daal bhat. Desserts include kheer, a Nepali rice pudding, and sweet lassi, a drink blended with yogurt, rose water, and sugar.
With a menu that's earned the restaurant four wins for Best Indian on CityVoter's A-List since 2007, Little India is the product of Simeran Baidwan's passion for native cooking. At the original outpost on Sixth Avenue and a newer location on Downing Street, fresh ingredients and scratch-made sauces combine to form house favorites such as lamb korma, chicken tikka masala, and shrimp vindaloo. A roster of tandoor-fired meats take on the smoky flavor of the oven's mesquite charcoal, and sides of fresh-baked naan arrive unadorned, sprinkled with garlic, or stuffed with onions and spices. Meals unfold in dining rooms adorned with sleek seating arrangements, festive Indian artwork, and illuminated bar displays that depict the ancient creation myth of the gin and tonic.