The chefs at Zagat-rated Ocean Tava craft definitive Indian dishes from a subcontinentally rich palette of flavors, serving zesty curries and tender kebabs in a swanky setting. To engage fried-pastry receptors, diners can start with potato-and-green-pea-stuffed vegetable samosas ($4.95) and wash away any straggling morsels with freshly brewed masala tea ($3.95). The menu highlights India's famed meatless cuisine, with vegetarian entrees such as bengan bharta, a baked-eggplant dish ($9.95), and saag paneer, spinach smothered with cubes of house-made cheese flavored with fenugreek ($9.95). Ravenous carnivores can sink their pearly whites into the tandoori mixed platter, an assortment of tandoori chicken, seekh kebab, chicken tikka, and salmon, fired in a traditional clay inferno ($18.95).
At Akbar Cuisine of India, the tandoors are always busy, whether they're puffing up nan and paratha breads or baking the spices into traditionally prepared lamb and chicken, as well as unusual house specialties. The Chilean sea bass, one of the restaurant's most popular dishes, scintillates taste buds with herb-marinated and grilled slivers of fish. The unconventional twists on traditional flavors last through dessert, which can include mango cheesecake. Chef and owner Avinash Kapoor pickles fresh chutneys each day. His staff also gives the pepper-lamb curry a hint of saffron and the prawns an unfounded rumor of coconut. The menu also features coco lamb, chicken tikka masala, saag paneer, and other made-to-order curries that make great diving pools for freshly baked naan and roti and poor insulation for condominiums.
The founders of Annapurna Southbay chose to name their restaurant after a Sanskrit title for the goddess of the harvest, and it's easy to see why they chose that name for the Annapurna special dosa. Measuring four feet in length and spanning almost an entire table, this is just one example of the chefs' dedication to hearty, bountiful meals. Most of the menu focuses on cuisine from India's four southern states— Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Kerala, and Karnataka—uniting the coconut, tamarind, and dried red chilies that characterize so many of the region's dishes. These ingredients add their distinctive flavor and spice to orders of tandoor-roasted chicken, fiery lamb curry, and slow-cooked lentils.
Echoing the restaurant's pastoral inspiration, the dining room boasts a verdant, leaf-like wall pattern above the line of burgundy-hued booths. Blooming flowers adorn the buffet area, and stone tiles from the backyard quarry line a wall near the storefront windows.
Mined from the foothills of the Himalayas, Himalayan salt differs from typical table salt in about 80 ways. It’s the only salt to posses more than 84 minerals, which has made the 100% unprocessed seasoning gain the attention of health enthusiasts worldwide. The cooks at The Kabob Curry already knew this, though. This Indo-Pakistani eatery refuses to use anything but the pink stuff for its flavorful meals, balancing the salty zest with staples found on every spice rack in the subcontinent, including ginger, roasted garlic, and cumin.
The menu features a range of dishes as vast as the Himalayas. For starters, naan rolls wrap kebabs inside homemade flatbread, pulled fresh from the clay oven. Vegetarian options include chana masala bathed in a creamy yellow curry, and chicken, beef, or shrimp comes cooked in a spicy vindaloo gravy or the house specialty, masala. For dessert, chefs recommend the mango ice cream. Served on a salt plate, the treat mixes sweet and salty like a Valentine’s Day card written by Sam Kinison.
Chef Rafi did not create Fresh Kabobs to get rich. He finds his reward in the opportunity to share authentic Indian dishes, such as tandoori chicken breast and grilled whole tilapia, with families in a casual, welcoming atmosphere. Inside his kitchen, chef Rafi draws from his pantry packed with USDA-choice Angus beef, fresh vegetables, and lamb imported from New Zealand to prepare each dish to order. Seated at dark-wood tables in the brightly lit dining area, patrons split spicy curry bowls brimming with basmati rice and sip mango lassis freshly blended with yogurt and spices. The dining area's high ceilings seem to extend to the stratosphere, past the red-tiled eaves and sky-blue murals dotted with fluffy white clouds shaped like cubes of paneer.