Tabla's executive chef Sajan Prem forges an ever-changing menu from authentic, centuries-old recipes. Hungry twosomes can start off the eating proceedings with South Indian specialties, such as the medu vada—deep-fried lentil donuts served with sambhar and coconut chutney ($5). Carnivorous appetites train meat-seeking eyeteeth on the shola kebab, morsels of tender lamb marinated with fresh herbs and spices and charcoal grilled in a tandoori oven ($15), while carnivores with a vendetta against vegetables can tear into the vegetarian kashmiri dum aloo, potatoes stuffed with dry fruit and Indian cheese, and cooked in a saffron-based garlic butter sauce ($12). An order of Tabla naan, a fusion of Indian bread, Italian spices, and sesame seeds ($3), sops up spicy sauces. Quartets toast hearty meal conclusions with wine or cocktails from the full bar as they admire the elegantly fringed curtains from one of the plush booths or flying carpets.
For the last 26 years, Executive Chef Dominic Sarkar has traveled from Dubai to California preparing the meals he learned to cook back in India. At Raga, he prepares exquisite dishes from a vast menu of softly spiced curries and kebabs, each of which arrives at tables elegantly plated. The dining room matches the stylish arrangements of food, surrounding guests with exposed brick walls, cut glass chandeliers overhead, and stylish felt seating. At the back of the room, the kitchen's fourth wall is removed, so diners can watch Chef Sarkar's cooking techniques as well as observe his sous chefs Greco-Roman wrestling for the chance to help on a dish.
Named after the small restaurants in India they aim to emulate, Dhaba Indian Cuisine engages taste buds with an array of authentic dishes and flavors from across its culinary homeland. Wake up hibernating taste buds with a spicy blast of chicken tikka marinated in a smooth blend of spices and yogurt, or fried mirchi vada stuffed with pickled green chilies. Morsels of chicken, lamb, and prawns fight to hide beneath mounds of rice in the special nawabi biryani and more than 15 savory chicken specialties hold down dishes threatening to elope with curved silverware. Blazing spices scorch taste buds with each mouthful of lamb vindaloo and homemade cubes of indian cottage cheese mingle with a blend of fresh veggies in the paneer jalfrezi's rich tomato curry. Glasses of house wine cool spice-tickled palates, preventing the need to order ice cream between courses to balm sweating tongues.
The aromas of South Asian spices lure passersby into Abhiruchi India Cuisine, where they typically pause for a moment to savor the décor and read the descriptions of more than 100 Indian specialties. Halal and vegetarian options are both well represented on the lengthy menu, which features spicy curries and tandoori-baked entrees based on chicken, seafood, and lamb or goat. When they aren’t scooping tikka masala into trays for the lunch buffet or pilfering Marco Polo’s travelogues for new recipes, the restaurant’s chefs accommodate partygoers with catering services.
At the casual Khasiyat, owner Bhanu Chavda serves aromatic, vegetarian dishes from various parts of India, but most impressed the Orlando Weekly reviewer with her addictive Indian snacks that dominate much of the menu. Popular small bites include South Indian dosas, crisp and thin flour crepes filled with potato and onions and served alongside coconut chutney, and bhel poori, a tasty street food featuring puffed wheat, indian noodles, and diced potato and onions with a splash of chili. Patrons can also try North Indian dishes that feature rich sauces and Indian cottage cheese, such as paneer masala, or try a variety of flavors in a thali, or sampler plate.