Befitting the vibrant spirit of the cinematic style that inspired its name, Bollywood Indian Restaurant indulges diners with a menu of boldly flavored South Asian cuisine. The chefs strive to accommodate guests' palates by tailoring the amount of fiery spice in each dish, serving some mild and savory and some hot enough to smelt silverware. This heat is far from the only source of classic Indian flavor, though. Ground spices coat cubes of tender lamb. Fresh herbs fill the fish tikka masala's marinade. The chefs even embrace culinary tradition by roasting everything from skewered chicken to disks of naan within the kitchen's clay tandoor oven. With items such as the homemade cheese simmered in creamy spinach and the lentils cooked in garlic, Bollywood Indian Restaurant also accommodates vegetarian diets with ease.
Swagat Cuisine of India lassos a tapestry of tastes to curb hunger with a menu of low-fat Indian food prepared in 100 percent vegetable oil. Warm up stiff stomach-based food processors with pre-meal stretches of samosa ($2.95) or vegetarian pakora ($3.95), a gaggle of cauliflower, potato, and spinach dredged in chickpea batter, fried golden brown, and painted with tomato chutney. The lamb korma ($10.95) curbs advancing appetites with a bill of lamb meat simmered tender in an elixir of cream, spices, and nuts. Saag paneer ($8.95), a blend of pureed spinach and cubes of paneer with onion, ginger, and spices, appeases vegetarians, and chicken tikka ($9.95) banishes marinated chicken to the depths of a tandoori oven before it gets a finishing drizzle of tomato-fenugreek-saffron sauce. Guests can anchor any meal with a side of aachar ($0.95), a traditional Indian mix of pickled vegetables bestowed upon victors of dal wrestling matches.
The chefs at Saffron Indian Cuisine & Bar believe Indian cooking is built around three main factors: ingredients, proportions, and timing. It’s a blueprint they've based on generations of family recipes, with which they never stop experimenting. Thus, like a crash-test dummy with a love for avant-garde fashion, the restaurant does not shy away from taking risks. Diners reap the benefits when they savor such house specialties as sutra lamb, which features boneless pieces of lamb cooked with ginger, onion, garlic, and yogurt.
Trial and error aside, Saffron's kitchen staff does abide to many traditional forms of Indian cooking as well. It uses tandoori ovens, for instance, to prepare dishes such as mirchi tikka, a spicy combination of chicken, cayenne, and lime. Fourteen vegetarian entrees, nine of which are vegan, and build-your-own curry dishes arrive atop tables bedecked with tangerine-hued cloths. Rich, fringed red curtains surround the dining area and capture the light flickering from tabletop lanterns.
Karma's chefs craft dishes from scratch with locally sourced produce and an intricate understanding of artisanal Indian cuisine. While diners whet their appetites or build a replica of dining companions with samosas—vegetarian turnovers stuffed with potatoes and spices and served with homemade tamarind chutney ($4)—chicken and lamb curries ($11–$12) primp for their dinner debut in a traditional sauce made from tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, and ground spices. Chefs stuff crispy crêpes with spiced potatoes and dub them the masala dosa ($9), and 10 different naan breads roost in tandoor ovens ($2–$5). When dinner ends, servings of indian rice pudding with green cardamom, known as kheer ($5), wash down meals or accidentally ingested plates. A selection of traditional drinks, including mango lassi and masala chai ($3), supplements a variety of wines and beers, and crisp linens, a tranquil mural, and wood furnishings swaddle spice seekers as they sip.
Drawing on traditions passed down through the generations before her, Nimita Dhirajlal prepares vegetarian Indian cuisine following the Ayurvedic philosophy. To that end, she cooks to promote health with a menu based on only vegetarian ingredients, as well as to nurture the community by using locally sourced ingredients. At Nimita's Cuisine, she shares not only her meals through catering services, but also her techniques for preparing the piquant dishes through cooking classes.
Dhirajlal—a culinary instructor since the mid '90s—leads classes that teach students how to cook intuitively with a knowledge of the spices and methods, rather than just how to follow a recipe. At the end of each three-hour class, she invites the students to sit down and enjoy their vegetarian creations together, after first promising to not incite a food fight.
She also offers catering for large groups and delivers weekly baskets packed with meals such as saag paneer, butternut squash garbanzo curry, and moong bean daal to subscribers' doorsteps each Monday.
The Taj Café’s tandoor cooks many of the dishes on the menu. Chefs marinate chicken and skewer pieces of fish before tossing them into the traditional clay oven with classic Indian-style breads. Sautéed spinach wraps around housemade cheese cubes in the vegetarian-friendly saag paneer, and basmati rice pairs with seasoned lamb in the lamb biryani. Golden-orange walls blanket the café, reminiscent of the curry powder sprinkled into dishes and patrons' mouths.