Champions of adhering to traditional recipes and culinary practices, a father-and-son team serves as both the owners and head chefs of New Passage to India. Their kitchen staff whips up dishes native to a variety of Indian regions, granting diners a taste of the subcontinent without the paper cuts that come from eating maps. They handcraft ingredients such as house-made paneer cheese, garden-fresh mushrooms, and fresh lamb with pinches of hand-ground spices. Sensitive to varied tolerances of piquancy, the chefs customize the heat levels of many of their creations to individual preferences. Affable servers wend from table to table within the dining room’s deep-green walls and wooden columns.
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.
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.
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.
Apna Spice Restaurant, under the management of Mohammad Younus started in 2003, serving Pakistani and Indian curries, breads, and meat dishes. The Pakistani chapli kebab seasons fried ground beef with spices, cumin seeds, and coriander, and the chicken korma features boneless chicken slow-cooked with spices in a yogurt-based curry. Dishes such as chicken curry and shrimp masala offer quick access to tasty seafood, unlike waiting three hours to see your tuna tax accountant.
At Bombay Grille, diners can nosh on ? la carte plates of Indian classics or dive into the weekend brunch buffet, complete with unlimited champagne. Regardless of the meal's style, however, the dishes run the gamut from chicken tikka masala in a tangy cream-based tomato sauce to assorted biryanis and tandoori shrimp, grilled in a traditional clay oven.