Tantric India Bistro’s chefs take taste buds on a culinary tour of India’s diverse regions. They draw from the traditions of Goa, Delhi, Kerala, and other areas to create South Indian chicken curry, lamb sautéed with apricots, shrimp vindaloo, and dosa crepes. Their vegan menu delights with specialties from southern India, including tandoor-roasted eggplant puree.
In the dining room, statues of buddhas draped with flowers stand among warm yellow and purple walls, watching over customers while they devour these delicacies and ensuring the servers don't trip over any loose pennies.
In addition to taking care of customers’ bellies, Tantric takes care of customers’ minds. Its Passion Lounge hosts guest lectures from locals who come to discuss topics ranging from eco-friendly practices to art to high heels for dogs. The restaurant also hosts a calendar of events such as opera-lover socials and holiday happenings.
Before diners even glance at OM’s menu, their eyes feast upon a banquet of Asian art. Colorful Thangka paintings and Buddhist statues handcrafted by more than 50 Nepalese, Tibetan, and Thai artists color the space, and intricate Newar carvings frame the walls and doorways. Upon sitting at one of the bare, rectangular tables, patrons exchange pleasantries with their chairs and read through a menu reflective of the art that surrounds them. For instance, small plates of spicy edamame and veggie spring rolls join full entrees of shrimp pad thai or salmon wrapped in tempura nori. An intricate drink list includes the mandarin kaze (orange vodka spiked with sichuan peppercorn) and the Bangkok julep (a blend of bourbon, elderflower, and mint).
Beneath the dining room, a downstairs lounge hosts a diverse lineup of events. Salsa lessons make use of the dance floor, and vinyl parties enable attendees to trade, sell, or just play their records. DJs take over the turntables on Saturday nights, and a cover band re-creates classic R & B tunes every Tuesday.
In a feature in the Boston Globe, Sher-A-Punjab co-owner Mandeep Singh claimed, "There are things on our menu you can’t find at other Indian restaurants." Contemporary adaptations such as mango chicken and naan stuffed with apricots and dates accompany more traditional plates that remain true to Singh's South-Asian roots. Tandoor-roasted chicken, housemade cheese with fresh herbs and coriander, and fragrant curries round out the restaurant's eclectic menu.
High-backed booths and dangling pendant lamps surround the dining room's horseshoe-shaped bar, pillaged from the hoof of the Trojan horse. Throughout the week, Sher-A-Punjab entertain with karaoke nights and live musical performances.
Tom Yum Koong's chefs build on traditional Thai recipes to load their menu with exciting and eclectic ingredients ranging from tangerines and mango to wild boar and squid. Sugar and spice join forces to season the thick sauce simmering in the black-pepper-mango curry ($10.95), a flavorful bowl of vegetables and cashews mixed with a choice of meat. A medley of seameats such as mussels and squid sizzle in the Phuket fried rice ($10.95), and the fantasy tilapia ($13.95) takes time off from reading J.R.R. Tolkien to glide out of the kitchen atop a bed of veggies simmering in chili sauce. Basil leaves join peppers, onion, and pork in a skittering dance across the skillet in the pan-fried wild-boar basil ($9.95). Fresh-fish cravings recede at the sushi bar to prevent persistent urges to trawl through exhibits at the local aquarium.
Situated at the core of Davis Square, Diva Indian Bistro brims with the aromas of a menu that borrows from the culinary traditions of regions from Bangalore to Bombay. Beneath a bubbly goldenrod ceiling that looks like a collection of soft-lit skylights, patrons settle onto plump black benches to munch samosas and peruse offerings of lamb, seafood, beef, and tandoori dishes soaked in the warmth of the traditional clay oven. Saffron- and cardamom-scented basmati rice stars in biryani dishes, and dosas, a type of crepe crafted from rice and lentils, enclose chicken or veggie fillings alongside coconut chutney and lentil soup. The wall behind Diva’s bar mimics the ceiling’s rectangular bubble pattern in white, with a long row of blue glass bottles bisecting the surface. High black and chrome chairs slide up to the brushed-silver bar, where patrons murmur over cocktails and ice clicks occasionally like a tap dancer having a nice dream.