Aashirwad Palace & Martini Lounge’s gastronomic alchemists transmute the recipes and ingredients of subcontinental cooking to timelessly flavorful Indian dishes. Culinary adventures begin with bites from one of more than 20 appetizers such as the the chicken pakora’s spicy garlic-laced fritters or the Paneer Tika Sizzler’s homemade cheese-and-tandoori masala marinade. Entrees run the gamut of mealtime matter, ranging from vegetarian chana masala to spinach-packed lamb saag. A mild yogurt sauce and fresh coriander envelop the boneless-chicken korma, while the shrimp baigan's baked eggplant sizzles in a blend of herbs, spices, and fire-breathing shellfish. A dried-fruit garnish tops the navaratan korma, buttressed by mixed vegetables in a rich sauce made from members of the leafiest food groups. Grapes get tipsy in two glasses of wine, which quench throats and ably complements dishes.
Striving to highlight the diversity of India’s regional cuisine, the cooks at Mehek Restaurant have mastered vegetarian, seafood, lamb, chicken, and rice dishes from across the subcontinent. The eatery’s name, which means “aroma,” serves as a playful tribute to the way each creation from the expansive menu sates several senses at once. Kebabs, vindaloos, masalas, and biryanis can all be ordered with various proteins, and glasses of mango lassi cool off spicy bites. Mehek also offers a buffet rich with options for vegetarians, meat-eaters, and those on strict naan diets.
Welcoming guests with an ornate entryway with a curlicue chandelier and bright orange walls is just one way Shahi Palace treats its guests like royalty. The ambiance continues into the dining room, with gold walls, red accents, and matching carpeting. Whether diners are in the banquet room celebrating a wedding, a birthday, or the beginning of National Adopt a Cat Month, or even if they're there to enjoy the weekend brunch buffet, they can break rounds of naan over Indian and Pakistani dishes that are 100% halal.
The key to great Indian food, according to the chefs at Pooja Restaurant, isn’t its spiciness, but its spices. Roasted, fried, or ground into pastes, the culinary team’s handpicked spices are carefully deployed to bring out each dish’s strongest aromas and flavors. Spices marinate okra and succulent lamb, heat up shrimp cooked in honey and vinegar and add zest to cream sauce coating vegetable balls stuffed with homemade cheese. Besides spices, Pooja’s cooks rely on curry powders, meats, and veggies—all fresh, never canned or packaged—for the restaurant's other 160-plus traditional options, which range from goat curry to sag paneer.
As the major riverine port of a nation that's home to more than a billion people, Calcutta hardly lacks for culture. The city's cuisine—a multicultural mishmash of Indian, British, Jewish, Chinese, and other culinary traditions—is but one example of its stunning diversity. A Calcutta Affair's menu captures this diversity in dishes such as the fish fry and the Calcutta Chow, the latter a mixture of noodles, veggies, and meat that's reminiscent of stir-fry.
Despite the competing influences, Indian traditions still hold the greatest weight in the Calcuttan kitchen. This explains why many of A Calcutta Affair's dishes are prepared with Bengali flavors such as five-spice (a mixture of cumin, fennel, fenugreek, kalonji, and mustard seed) and freshly ground mustard paste. The tandoori dishes are billed as the restaurant's specialties, and one taste of the chicken marinated in sour cream and spices will tell you why. An exotic selection of beverages includes mango lassi and litchi juice with rosewater, though guests can also bring their own beers, wines, and nonalcoholic bathtub gin.
Flavours of India is all about choices. Not only does the restaurant offer a daily lunch buffet and a huge menu, it also introduces diners to reinvented Indian dishes served alongside ages-old classics. Tandoori oven-cooked entrees, South Indian specialties such as rice crepes stuffed with potatoes, and creamy curry dishes with chicken, lamb, shrimp, or vegetables satisfy taste buds with flavor-bursting offerings. Diners can end their meals on a sweet note with a traditional mango lassi drink or desserts such as Indian-style pistachio ice cream and carrots cooked in milk.
At Aman's Indian Cuisine, traditional spices, herbs, and vegetables transport tongues to the other side of the globe with Indian classic vegetarian and omnivorous menus. Saag paneer's glaciers of house-made cheese bob through creamed-spinach waters rippling with mild spices ($10.95), and ginger and garlic greet taste buds making contact with tadka dal's yellow lentils ($9.95). After it's puréed, baingan bharta's grilled eggplant mixes with a spice-adorned combination of tomatoes, onions, and peas ($10.95) as skillfully as two mischievous children in one white suit mix in with a crowd of departing astronauts.