After building up a restaurant empire throughout Europe and India, Parveen Malhotra assembled a team in Forest Hills to cultivate a menu of Indian cuisine that draws from regions throughout the subcontinent. Diners at Haveli can feast on lamb and chicken kababs from along the northern borders, or they can sample eseafood and shrimp curries from coastal Goa and Cochin. Dishes of Bombay bhel puri rice puffs and okra bhindi masala arrive in colorful, elegant arrangements, while an extensive list of wines and tropical martinis pair perfectly with every meal.
The restaurant’s interior evokes its namesake Haveli—a term for a mansion reserved for the upper echelons of Indian society. Crystal chandeliers cast light onto linen covered tables, white leather sofas, and table settings of crisp napkins. From the saffron-colored walls, murals of jewel-bedecked elephants parade past dinner tables, while paintings of Mughal rulers look down upon banquet spreads with stern, peckish looks.
Baluchi's chefs sweep regional and classic Indian cuisines into a comprehensive menu of hearty meat, seafood, and vegetarian dishes. At the heart of the kitchen, a traditional tandoor oven works overtime to bake entrees, such as a whole red snapper or lamb chops, and fresh naan and paratha breads. Meanwhile, chefs simmer seafood curries in creamy coconut milk and top off feasts with scoops of housemade ice cream flavored with mango or pistachio. Though Baluchi's offers delivery, patrons who appear at the eatery treat their senses to a feast: clusters of colorful baubles cast light on shiny hardwood benches and a bar, backdropped by vibrant paintings.
The cooks at Masala Wok specialize in flavorful, aromatic Hakka-style cuisine, blending together Indian and Chinese culinary techniques. Pan-fried dry chili chicken, Singapore-style hoisin shrimp, and golden-fried cauliflower dumplings are a few popular menu items. Patrons can order carryout or stay to eat in the casual restaurant.
The chefs at Maurya Cuisine of India create traditional Indian dishes such as tandoori lobster tail, shrimp masala, and chili chicken. They help guests acclimate their palates to Indian food’s palette of piquant ingredients by serving spiced garlic naan and vegetable samosas that can be capped off by pistachio-mango or tutti-frutti ice cream.
The Himalayas are known not just for their towering peaks, but also for the rich cultures that have grown in their shadow. The all-Himalayan culinary team at Himalayan Yak Restaurant re-creates the best dishes picked from Tibetan, Nepalese, Bhutanese, and Indian cuisines. Their menu is subdivided by region and organized to indicate which dishes are vegetarian, letting chefs highlight classic dishes such as spice-laden chicken chili or exotic yak tongue sautéed in garlic and ginger and served with Tibetan bhaley bread. Most of the dishes can be customized with a choice of meat—including goat and buffalo—or vegetables. A live band plays traditional Himalayan tunes as diners dig into their meals, creating an atmosphere that mimics the serenity of the highest mountain peaks or the feeling of meditating at the top of several glued-together zen gardens.
Though its name suggests an exotic location in the Himalayan foothills, Delhi Heights is just a short drive from Manhattan in Jackson Heights. A menu that focuses on traditional Indian and Indo-Chinese fusion dishes makes the short trek worth it. One of the restaurant’s signature dishes is the dahi aloo papri chat, and one bite of the textured blend of crispy potatoes, chickpeas, and tamarind sauce shows why. Chefs prepare dozens of their other entrees in a tandoori clay oven, enhancing jumbo shrimp and achari mushrooms with smoky flavor without having to cook each individually on the tip of a cigar.