A sleek, black elephant statue overlooks the dining room, its trunk raised in a silent trumpet of approval, or perhaps to catch whiffs of the fragrant Indian, Tibetan, and Indo-Nepalese foods filing out from the kitchen. Inside, surrounded by traditional tandoori clay ovens and simmering pots of lentils, a chef backed by 20 years of experience imbues each dish with a blend of traditional spices. He stuffs flaky, savory pastries known as chaat with beans, yogurt, and chutneys, and sprinkles pinches of curry powder into pans of lamb and vegetables. During lunchtime, waiters ferry massive trays of the chef's eats to the buffet, where diners can load plates with enough vegetable masala to make a perfect sauce-angel.
While morsels of tender lamb and chicken stew in the sultry confines of a tandoor, chefs steam jasmine rice as a base for biryani dishes. Warm baked naan sops up the thick, creamy sauce of a saag paneer, and Himalayan influences pervade steamed dumplings and shrimp roasted with imported spices. After polishing off a golden samosa on the outdoor patio, guests question their servers about gluten-free entrees or question a fork about rumors of a tumultuous relationship with a spoon.
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]]
The chefs at India Express have a few tricks up their sleeves. For starters, they often put their ingredients through more than one preparation method, yielding juicy and flavorful results. When it comes to chicken and duck, they often first get a dip in yogurt and spices before acquiring a delectable sear inside the restaurant’s blazing clay tandoor oven. For many recipes, lamb and shrimp complete the cooking process in a curry sauce or tomato cream sauce. It’s this care for the details—along with fluffy naan with a variety of stuffings—that make India Express’s food memorable. For convenience, the Indian restaurant also delivers to a number of Denver areas and its online ordering system is a swift alternative for people who have trouble dialing out on their hamburger phones.
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.