Though Indonesian food is known for being far spicier than Thai, both cuisines share many ingredients in common, including coconut milk and galangal root. At Indo Quest Restaurant, these culinary traditions are paired on a menu that The Miami Herald hails as "diverse" and "complex." Specialties include fried sweet plantains and zesty coconut curries chockfull of proteins such as chicken or beef. Thai-wise, they toss fixings such as shrimp or tofu with pad see-ew noodles and spicy versions of Thai-style fried rice. These dishes are enjoyed in Indo Quest's cozy dining room, where feasts unfold amidst verdant plants and a mix of Indonesian and Thai art.
Inside Hop Won Dinner Club & Skinny Bar, tradition meets modern times in both decor and cuisine. Guests lounge on chic white couches or grab a table next to the chalkboard walls that announce the day's specials. From each vantage point, diners contemplate contemporary Chinese-American fusion dishes such as the duck wings alongside more traditional entrees such as miso salmon in a spicy glaze or braised frog casserole. Family-style plates are easy to share, or a round of appetizers and eclectic drinks spark easy chitchat. The cocktail menu ranges from mojitos and sake bombs to spiked energy drinks that can fuel a night of revelry or a day of uphill cartwheeling.
The "Desi" in Ellie's Desi Kitchen refers to the diaspora of people from South Asia settled in all parts of the world?a fact reflected in the diverse range of dishes in the restaurant's menu. Guests chow down on an eclectic spread of steaks, chicken po' boys, veggie stir-frys, fluffy naan bread, spicy curries, and their specialty, a spicy chicken sub. The decor also reflects the cosmopolitan flavor of the bill of fare. Wall scrolls of flowers and birds hang over tables laden with American ketchup and mustard bottles, while a photomontage places Machu Picchu, the Roman Colosseum, and the Taj Mahal side by side?just like they are in real life.
Aromas of ginger, saffron, cardamom, coriander, and cilantro linger in the air at Palace Indian Cuisine, wafting from the kitchens' clay tandoor oven. There, skewers of ground lamb and cubed chicken roast into tender, smoky morsels for northern Indian curries. Yet the intense flavors don't stop with the meat alone. Chefs demonstrate a similar commitment to their vegetarian dishes by whipping high-quality ingredients such as house-made cottage cheese into entrees of kahdi paneer or paneer makhani, which Misha Grosvenor from New Times Broward–Palm Beach placed on her list of 100 Favorite Dishes in 2011.
Palace Indian Cuisine’s décor echoes the warmth of its home-style menu. The sunset-orange walls carry everything from framed Indian artwork to gleaming swords and spearheads. Against one wall, yellow posts separate three covered booths, while the rest of the tables lie scattered across the dining room’s tiles, their tablecloths topped with glass to keep dinners refined and narcissists entranced with their reflection.
The servers at Indian Chillies helpfully walk first-timers through the extensive menu. Their suggestions cover a range of timeless and modern dishes, from the tandoori chicken—praised by the Sun Sentinel for its "scrumptious charred exterior"—to Indo-Chinese chow mein. Though the kitchen staff labors over several zesty entrees, they specialize in smaller plates, such as samosas, halal chicken wings, and various flatbreads.
Vegan, vegetarian, and meaty plates satisfy diners of all persuasions, whether they're perusing the menu or loading the buffet onto the back of their truck. As their ears bask in Bollywood tunes, guests can finish up by sipping a mango lassi or savoring gulab jamun, a lightly syruped dessert of milk-and-cottage-cheese balls.