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.
Before Andrew Krull opened Zest Cafe on the corner of South Wadsworth and West Yale, he spent several years scouting the location. That's because he grew up right across the street. Today—in his home slightly away from his home—Krull creates contemporary American cuisine for lunch and dinner. Feast on pan-seared beef tips, roasted vegetables over beds of quinoa, or pizzas crowned with smoked salmon. In the evenings, sip coffee or glasses of wine at the bar, or dine al fresco on the umbrella-forested outdoor patio.
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.
Chefs at Little India's four locations infuse authentic Indian dishes with fresh and exotic ingredients, earning Top of the Town awards from 5280 magazine for "a decade running." The culinary creatives concoct a taste-bud-tempting lot of specialty dishes, from the butter chicken to the super-hot lamb madras, which makes taste buds sweat with scantily clad seasonings. Vegetarians can spoon a kaleidoscope of meat-free dishes, including the dahl makhani, lentils cooked with tomato and savory spices. Guests sip mood-enhancing beverages from the bar, and the friendly wait staff places plated Indian delicacies and unplated charades suggestions at their fingertips.:m]]
If the fact that Black Pearl Restaurant's owner is a certified sommelier doesn't assure you that this spot is serious about its wine, then its multiple Awards of Excellence from Wine Spectator should remove any lingering doubt. But don't get too attached to any one bottle. The wine list, a sophisticated blend of big names and small-production vineyards, changes in sync with the menu of seasonal New American cuisine. Executive Chef Mitch Mayers keeps things fresh with small plates carrying dishes such as goat-cheese flan or seared scallops as well as interesting entrees that might include rutabaga-potato gnocchi or churrasco yak strip steak. His weekend brunch menu has also gained notice, with bottomless mimosas, brie-stuffed french toast, and a braised-pork-belly scramble. Black Pearl's softly lit interior is comfortable and home-like, with hardwood floors and exposed-brick walls. In warm weather, the open front windows and the side patio provide ideal vantage points for watching passersby or keeping an eye on your penny-farthing locked up out front.
Modmarket's chic interior serves as an ideal stage for the mouthwatering performances of the restaurant's wholesome, seasonal culinary stars. The menu—which contains nutritional information for each dish—eases diners into their restorative repast with an array of salads, available in such verdant configurations as thai coconut, whose bed of greens teems with sweet potatoes, chicken, and peanut-mango dressing ($8.75). Many of the eatery's salad dressings contain no gluten, animal byproducts, or narwhal tears, and the from-scratch soup selection always includes at least one vegan option. The restaurant's pizzasmiths forge exotic, innovative creations, such as the pizza sporting fig, goat cheese, gorgonzola, arugula, and pepper ($8.50), and all pizzas are available with soy cheese and whole-grain or gluten-free crusts. Sandwiches, such as the chipotle steak ($8.50), come with a choice of vegan bread or gluten-free wrap and toast to toothsome crispness in a 600-degree brick oven.