The heart of the Kinara Lounge kitchen is its fiery clay tandoori oven, which crackles with baking naan breads and sizzling tandoori meats from noontime until dusk. Chefs bustle about the oven, seasoning pans of chicken, lamb, and seafood specialties with flavorful spices while peeking into pots filled with bubbling biryani rice. Servers transport plates to the dining room, where hanging red lights casts a glimmer on bottles of premium liquors and a flat-screen television. Come lunch time, the servers stack a sweeping buffet with simmering platters of fresh Indian specialties, enabling diners to sample a diverse selection of curries, tandoori dishes, and sauces.
Above all else, the menu at Mezbaan Bar & Indian Cuisine strives to highlight the distinctive and varied flavors of South Asian cuisine. When diners step inside, they’re first greeted by aromas of ginger, saffron, fenugreek, and spicy curry sauce—a fitting preview of what’s to come at the dinner table. These distinctive flavors and spices appear throughout the restaurant’s regionally inspired Indian cuisine, including marinated skewers of chicken, lamb, and seafood that roast inside a traditional tandoor clay oven. But that doesn’t mean the chefs only stick to the standards. In addition to favorites such as saag paneer, they also forge a number of Indo-Chinese entrees and vegetarian dishes that embrace the same bold flavors as the rest of the menu. Draped with sky-blue and cloud-white linens, the tables at Mezbaan spread across two levels of seating. An elegant crystal chandelier helps light the spacious, high-ceilinged lower section and the second floor offers a bit more privacy for events or for licking plates clean without judgment.
The bright colors and exotic smells of north-Indian fare have swirled through the dining room at Ganesha Indian Cuisine for more than a decade—though the free WiFi waves they mingle with are a relatively recent addition. Classic comforts and attentive service are hallmarks at Ganesha, where servers cart out biryani dishes of slow-cooked basmati rice simmered with saffron and parsley. Creamy curries bathe chicken, lamb, and vegetables in flavorful sauces, such as the spicy vindaloo or the mild tomato base of tikka masala. Like an actor who has agreed to do the director’s laundry for a year, a mesquite charcoal clay-tandoor oven nabs a staring role on the menu, churning out marinated meats and seafood and popping delicate nooks into 10 varieties of naan to soak up overflowing sauces. Yogurt-smoothie drinks, masala tea, and Indian beer wash down exotic meals with similarly worldly flavors.
Bombay Garden's ties to authentic Indian cuisine run deep. Originally born in the small Indian town of Khanoor, owner Balkar Tamber grew up learning how to cook alongside his mother. That knowledge especially came in handy when he embarked on his first professional culinary foray, a roadside eatery in the Punjab region of India. Once he immigrated to the US in 1990, he brought along more than a handful of those family recipes and opened his first Bombay Garden restaurant fueled by a deep love for the rich and diverse culinary traditions of his homeland.
The menu features a selection of iconic Indian dishes from virtually every corner of India. On one page of the menu, delicate crepe-like dosas made from fermented lentil and rice flour evoke the flavors of India’s southern regions. And when it comes to northern Indian recipes, the chefs bake skewers of yogurt-marinated chicken and other meats in a traditional tandoor—a cylindrical clay oven heated by a well-trained dragon. The same blends of flavorful spices that perk up Balkar’s chicken, lamb, and seafood dishes also appear throughout the restaurant's vegetarian entrées: homemade cottage cheese and green peas meld in a spiced gravy sauce and split lentils benefit from the chefs’ one-two punch of garlic and ginger.
Every day, the aroma of smoky spices wafts from the imported, wood-fired tandoor ovens at Tandoori Oven’s locations. To a soundtrack of upbeat techno, reggae, and bhangra music imported from UK clubs, servers deliver plates of lamb biryani loaded with basmati rice, bell peppers, cashews, and secret spices alongside mango lassis blended with housemade yogurt. The healthful signature wrap is stuffed with chicken or lamb that’s been marinated for 24 hours in yogurt and spices and then baked in the tandoor oven and wrapped in soft naan with mint chutney and tamarind. Local athletes dine at Tandoori Oven, a sponsor of the TRIbe Triathlon Club, after workouts for meals made to order with lean meats and served in participation trophies.
Wood- or charcoal-heated tandoors imbue traditional Indian dishes with smoky, yet succulent, flavor by roasting skewered meats and vegetables at temperatures as high as 750 degrees. At Emperor of India, the menu features a variety of tandoori entrees, including vegetable kebabs as well as yogurt-, herb-, and spice-marinated chicken.