Garbed in crisp white jackets, chefs in the Apna Punjab dart among pans of simmering curries and pots of bubbling biryani rice as nimbly as dancers, their faces aglow in the open flames. They fold fresh meats and seafood into a sweeping array of authentic North and South Indian dishes, from tender butter chicken to flavorful goat curry. In a fiery clay oven, the chefs bake lamb kebabs, tandoori shrimp, and naan breads stuffed with minced lamb and fresh green chilies. One of the most popular dishes—chicken tikka masala—was lauded by reporters from India New England as "distinct and rich."
To enjoy those dishes, customers perch on cushy green booths, clinking mugs of imported Indian beers. Others linger over last bites of sweet rice pudding, watching the sun set through lofty yellow-curtained windows. During lunch, 15 freshly made specialties pour forth steam at a lunch buffet, ideal for diners who need to rush back to work or hurry home to see if their long-lost childhood parakeet has at last returned.
India Restaurant's chefs modify iconic South Asian staples to eliminate excess fat, cholesterol, and calories while still ensuring that the dishes are delicious enough to win various accolades. The chefs craft each authentic dish with locally sourced seafood and produce, and they avoid frying any dish, eschew butter entirely, and only cook with canola oil. Yet their nacho-like papri chaat appetizer has been called "truly addictive" by the Providence Phoenix, which also called the restaurant’s biryani “a veritable feast for the senses.” To make their cuisine even more inclusive, the chefs prepare an array of vegan-friendly and gluten-free dishes.
The decor strives to be similarly accommodating, presenting diners with numerous seating options, each with a distinctive ambience. A projection screen playing subtitled Bollywood films dominates the main dining area, smaller tables surround each of the three roaring fireplaces, and more than 200 flickering candles line the bar area. During the warmer months, the garden courtyard tempts patrons with its swings for seats, lush gardens, and bubbling water fountains. The sidewalk seating allows guests to dine alongside their dogs and pet lobsters; a doggie menu offers hamburger-and-rice dishes and yogurt pops for canine companions.
Traditional belly dancers drift throughout the space on Friday and Saturday evenings, and the restaurant's global jazz ensemble entertains diners with its contemporary melodic stylings.
The chefs at Bombay Club have been serving up Northern Indian favorites?including chicken tikka masala, shrimp mirch masala, and anything out of the tandoor oven?for more than a decade. Diners can complement the entrees with naan, housemade pakora, mango ice cream, and Indian beers and cocktails from the bar menu.
In a feature in the Boston Globe, Sher-A-Punjab co-owner Mandeep Singh claimed, "There are things on our menu you can’t find at other Indian restaurants." Contemporary adaptations such as mango chicken and naan stuffed with apricots and dates accompany more traditional plates that remain true to Singh's South-Asian roots. Tandoor-roasted chicken, housemade cheese with fresh herbs and coriander, and fragrant curries round out the restaurant's eclectic menu.
High-backed booths and dangling pendant lamps surround the dining room's horseshoe-shaped bar, pillaged from the hoof of the Trojan horse. Throughout the week, Sher-A-Punjab entertain with karaoke nights and live musical performances.
Each linen napkin is folded in such a manner that it drapes over the edge of a drinking glass like the petals of a flower. The napkin’s soft pink hue complements Himalayan Bistro’s deep red booths and the vibrant art on the walls. The aromas of ginger, chili paste, and Himalayan peppercorns drift from the kitchen, hinting at dishes traditionally served in the streets and homes of Kathmandu and other regions of Nepal. Steamed dumplings brim with veggies like the pockets of a scarecrow on payday, and tendrils of smoke unwind from kebabs in a tandoor or over an open charcoal fire. Traditional music plays in the background, the unfamiliar scales and nearby antique statuettes completing the sensation of having traveled halfway around the world.
The husband-and-wife team that runs Shanti-Taste of India has seen more than their fair share of couples enter their restaurant’s doors on a date and return, many years later, with their children in tow. The love that the duo has put into their business since 1999 is certainly returned by their clients. More tangible proof of their popularity comes from the eatery’s 2012 award from Boston magazine for Best Indian Restaurant. The authentic food served at Shanti blends both Indian and Bangladeshi cuisines, a tastier way to learn about the world than dipping a globe in ranch dressing and trying to eat it. Boston reviewers particularly enjoyed the vegetable pakoras—which they called “deep-fried pockets of pillowy goodness”—as well as the tandoori dishes, which the kitchen staff fires in a 900-degree oven.