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.
Chef Kausik Roy didn't invent his signature dish after attending culinary school, nor did he do it while he was working at some of the best restaurants in India. In fact, he was only a 9-year-old boy in Mumbai when he took one look at a plate of slimy okra and told his family he refused to eat it until it was crunchy and spicy. Someone took pity on him, sprinkled the okra in green chili, and deep-fried it. To everyone's surprise, they all loved it, and this dish, karrarri bhindi, has been a mainstay of Roy's kitchens.
At his newest restaurant, Tawa Indian Cuisine, there are two distinct dining areas: the more laid-back downstairs, where guests dig into plates of finger food and can get away with wearing mismatched socks, and the fancier, intimate space upstairs, where guests enjoy Indian fusion favorites. These include shrimp, calamari, scallops, and basmati rice flecked with saffron—the Indian version of paella—and coconut-and-pepper shrimp served with a chutney mayo.
At Chili Chicken Indian Twist, palates on a mission to explore eastern cuisines can traverse the esculent gamut of both Indian and Chinese cuisine on the extensive menu. Warm body interiors with a bowl of sweet-corn soup ($3) or lightly breaded hot and crispy shrimp with a sweet chili sauce ($7), or sate subcontinent-shaped stomachs with Indian treats such as samosas ($5), lamb tikka masala ($13), or vegetable clay-pot curry for a traditional taste of vibrant, aromatic spices ($9). Alternatively, those with stomachs hankering to venture north of the Himalayas can try double-fried tofu in a mild chili-ginger sauce ($9) or bombay szechwan fried rice with shrimp ($10). Chili Chicken Indian Twist also offers a list of domestic and imported beer ($5–$8), as well as house wines by the glass ($6.50), ideal for swigging before partaking in blindfolded slam-dunk contests.
Speed is one of the most important ingredients at Khyber Indian. The cooks here pride themselves on a quick turnaround, which is made possible due to their rejection of all things fancy. Disposable plates and silverware cut down on cleanup, and the dining room has no unnecessary decor, just a few casual tables. That way lamb curry, chicken tikka masala, and vegetable samosas can arrive shortly after customers walk up to the counter and place their orders. It also frees up time for the kitchen staff to try out inventive takes on the classics—such as samosas stuffed with pumpkin—and focus on every aspect of the meal. The selection of sweets is headlined by mango lassi drinks and carrot halwa (a garnished milk pudding), which makes the perfect dessert or appetizer for the rebellious at heart.