Before diners even glance at OM’s menu, their eyes feast upon a banquet of Asian art. Colorful Thangka paintings and Buddhist statues handcrafted by more than 50 Nepalese, Tibetan, and Thai artists color the space, and intricate Newar carvings frame the walls and doorways. Upon sitting at one of the bare, rectangular tables, patrons exchange pleasantries with their chairs and read through a menu reflective of the art that surrounds them. For instance, small plates of spicy edamame and veggie spring rolls join full entrees of shrimp pad thai or salmon wrapped in tempura nori. An intricate drink list includes the mandarin kaze (orange vodka spiked with sichuan peppercorn) and the Bangkok julep (a blend of bourbon, elderflower, and mint).
Beneath the dining room, a downstairs lounge hosts a diverse lineup of events. Salsa lessons make use of the dance floor, and vinyl parties enable attendees to trade, sell, or just play their records. DJs take over the turntables on Saturday nights, and a cover band re-creates classic R & B tunes every Tuesday.
Tantric India Bistro’s chefs take taste buds on a culinary tour of India’s diverse regions. They draw from the traditions of Goa, Delhi, Kerala, and other areas to create South Indian chicken curry, lamb sautéed with apricots, shrimp vindaloo, and dosa crepes. Their vegan menu delights with specialties from southern India, including tandoor-roasted eggplant puree.
In the dining room, statues of buddhas draped with flowers stand among warm yellow and purple walls, watching over customers while they devour these delicacies and ensuring the servers don't trip over any loose pennies.
In addition to taking care of customers’ bellies, Tantric takes care of customers’ minds. Its Passion Lounge hosts guest lectures from locals who come to discuss topics ranging from eco-friendly practices to art to high heels for dogs. The restaurant also hosts a calendar of events such as opera-lover socials and holiday happenings.
In India, the word ghazal refers to love that persists through the pain of loss or separation. The owners of Ghazal Indian Cuisine chose their restaurant’s name to reflect their deep love for Indian food. To this end, they offer patrons authentic biryanis, tandoori dishes, and Punjabi-style sandwiches—sometimes with an unexpected, modern twist. Sparkling chandeliers gently illuminate the dining room as patrons dine at half-booths or tables.
Cooks at Gourmet India sling health-conscious, regional Indian recipes that have garnered praise from the Boston Globe. The casual eatery packs its menu with North Indian fare and serves South Indian specials on weekends, representing the subcontinent better than one grain of rice from each state. Each combo meal rounds up two to three servings from a rotating list of entrees, flanking the savory morsels with basmati rice or naan. Combo meals always include at least one vegetarian entree so diners can pick between vegetable-based gobhi aloo, a dish of cauliflower cooked with ginger; the palak paneer, a blend of spinach and homemade cheese; or a platter of cumin seeds arranged into a pleasing, vegetable shape. Meatier fare includes chicken tikka masala, tender poultry cooked in a tomato-cream sauce, and lamb korma with cashews and raisins. Dishes emerge steaming from the kitchen with fresh-cooked flavor, unlike entrees at other eateries that import their fare from India so it typically arrives cold. Combo meal 2 includes one appetizer, which could include either potato-filled samosas or aromatic onion bhaju.
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Mehak serves halal food, meaning its dishes are prepared in accordance with Islamic law. Look for both Pakistani and Indian dishes, from slow-cooked beef nehari to ground chicken meatballs known as kofta. Just don't expect a lot of space to spread out; the modest dining room houses fewer than 10 tables.