Purple tablecloths bloom with vases of cut flowers as petal-like fans whir overhead. Their regal hue symbolizes one of Zaroka Bar & Restaurant's guiding principles: that guests are akin to royalty. Inside the dining room, traditional Indian meals unfold amid ornately carved picture frames, vibrant music, and colorful conversations. To explore India's nooks and crannies, chefs craft dishes from far-flung regions such as Punjab, Gujarat, and Bengal. House specialties range from spiced chicken kebabs baked in a clay oven to curried shrimp simmered in a coconut pot. The kitchen also prepares an array of vegetarian dishes, such as savory garlic naan and three types of lentil dal. An ideal dessert or palate cleanser, the rosewater lassi teems with sweet, floral hints, like a game of charades with a potpourri sachet.
Kokum takes its name from a berry that's specific to South India, a nod to the regional cuisine that stands out as this restaurant's specialty. The recently opened space may be new, but the cooking traditions are time honored, drawing specific inspiration from India's Kerala region. Favorites include spicy chicken masala kalumbu and vegetarian-friendly theeyal, which features a mix of green bananas, yam, and coconut. Top off your meal with one of the bar's craft cocktails, which include the signature Kokum, a mingling of vermouth, pineapple juice, and lime. The dining room keeps things simple, with exposed light bulbs and natural wood accents alongside paintings of boats with hulls colorful enough to rival the stains on the sauce chef's apron. Kokum is a member of the Fine Indian Dining Group.
Glowing sconces line the crimson and cream walls inside Namaste India, where traditional Indian dishes adorn linen-topped tables and fill the air with spiced aromas. Marinated lamb, chicken, and seafood slumber inside a clay tandoor oven until they're mildly smoky and tender throughout, while other proteins and vegetables steep in rich curry sauces, aptly scooped up with fresh-baked naan bread or ladled over delicate basmati rice. Patrons can wash down meals with sweet, salted, or mango-flavored lassi drinks, or snatch a classic dessert such as gulab jamun—deep-fried milk dumplings that are soaked in syrup and delivered to tables via an air gun.
Emigrating from Punjab to the United States more than 17 years ago, Saffron's continent-hopping owners act as tour guides through India's culinary landscape with a menu that's "diverse and extensive enough to satisfy all tastes," according to the Norwalk Citizen. Five-star chef Sandeep Kakkar and his team furnish empty bellies with subtly spiced saag chicken, lamb masala, and shrimp biryani, as well as a variety of gluten-free and vegan entrees. Midday visitors can find ample sustenance from an extensive buffet that stretches across the restaurant or twiddle their thumbs until it's time for the daily wine and beer happy-hour specials. Saffron's soft hanging lights and refined Indian artwork encourage diners to relax while being serenaded by Indian music softer than a cloud's beard.
Paradise Biryani Pointe serves traditional Hyderabadi Nawabi dishes, an Indian culinary tradition that emphasizes slow cooking, careful and deliberate spice mixtures, and the use of direct fire. The signature dish, the hyderabadi biryani, exemplifies the style: meat and spiced basmati rice are cooked over steaming coals and together form three savory layers of food. The restaurant's kitchen also has a tandoori oven, which helps seal in the flavorful herbs and spices of meats, such as the marinated goat chops. In addition, the restaurant serves a wealth of vegetarian dishes, such as the bagara baingan—eggplant roasted in a clay oven and mixed in with tomato and onion—and gobi manchuria, a fried-cauliflower appetizer.
Mumbai Rasoi's chefs adorn authentic Indian cuisine with a flurry of exotic spices and house-made ingredients. They enlist the roasting powers of a traditional tandoor to grill chicken dishes, and swathe shrimp and lamb in spicy curries. They also construct a multitude of vegetarian-friendly entrees, uniting a rainbow of ingredients ranging from red kidney beans to black lentils to holographic rutabagas.