Chola Indian Restaurant’s menu sends diners on a whirlwind tour of culinary traditions from across the entire Indian subcontinent. The kitchen’s clay tandoor oven roasts skewers of succulent lamb or chicken, and the chefs create southern-Indian dosas by filling rice and lentil crêpes with aromatic combinations of ginger- and onion-based fillings. Meanwhile, dishes from the Indo-Chinese border earn their own space on the menu, tempting diners with orders of fried rice or chili-spiced cottage cheese.
Although steaming entrees emerge from the kitchen, the dining room’s mint-green walls help to create a cooler ambiance. Intricate archways divide the space in two, separating the buffet’s steaming tables from the restaurant’s abominable-snowman section.
Kadai Indian Kitchen’s menu reflects the range of northern Indian dishes, including aromatic curries and grilled kabobs. Discs of naan and skewers of chicken and lamb rest inside the clay tandoor oven and roast over a smoldering pile of coals and NASA’s rejected paper-airplane designs. Lentils, chickpeas, and fresh cheese stew alongside sauces brimming with ginger and cumin, all of which go into vegetarian entrees prepared with separate sets of pots and utensils. The chefs also tailor the amount of spice they add to every order.
A marigold façade with window cutouts that mirror the Taj Mahal's distinguished silhouette welcomes guests to Indian Palace, whose interior is equally lavish and vibrant. Golden elephant statuettes, paintings of traditional Indian scenes, and deep red tapestries enliven the decor, and aromas of sweet curries and meats roasting in the clay oven add excitement to the air. Inside the kitchen, chefs channel the culture of northern India into traditional meals, then deliver the cuisine à la carte to tables or arrange it at the self-serve buffet. The sweeping buffet enables diners to hop from dish to dish like garden gnomes playing hopscotch on lily pads. A cornucopia of naan breads cushions plates against flying forks and provides a pillowy field for the spicy notes of such dishes as lamb biryani and chicken tikka masala to caper across. The spread always contains an extensive selection of vegetarian options, such as saag aloo, which dispatches a duo of cheese and potato to thwart dastardly hunger pangs.
Chefs Rakesh Menhdiratta and Prem Singh Jayara together have more than six decades of experience cooking Indian fare. While Rakesh was working at a state banquet to honor Bill Clinton in New Delhi, Prem was publishing his own Indian cookbook and teaching at culinary schools throughout New York City. Now, the two Indian-borne chefs have united to bring their culinary skills to the menu at Bombay Bistro.
In the eatery, stained-glass lights dangle over booths, casting a pastel blush on exposed-brick walls. The bar is lit from behind with neon orange, hinting at the smoldering flames of the bistro's clay oven. As the kitchen doors open, dark hardwood tables fill with shrimp, lamb, and goan fish curry, accented by tamarind and sweet coconut milk. Warm baked naan sops up sauce from tandoori shrimp and salmon steeped in garlic, ginger, and lemon juice. While perusing the bistro's cocktail menu, guests can question servers about the lunch buffet or the best novel they’ve ever found written on a napkin.
Glowing chandeliers scatter light across the sheer copper drapes that frame Pakwan Restaurant's 96-seat dining room, which is sheathed in spice-hued fabrics suggestive of the sumptuous cuisine emerging from the kitchens. Guests dig into aromatic plates of authentic Indian cuisine, from traditional curries and tandoori to village-style vegetable dishes and kebabs marinated in yogurt and special spices. Executive chef Laila Prasla and her crew utilize traditional Indian cooking methods, stirring authentic ingredients such as desi ghee—clarified butter—into entrees before sliding them onto hand-crafted copper vessels and sending them off to the dining room. Behind a black-topped bar, Pakwan's resident mixologist concocts taste-bud-tantalizing "molecular" cocktails, which offer a fresh spin on traditional bar drinks. Those opting for a bar beverage will also be gifted with four complimentary snacks to prep human food processors for main-course meals.
The mouthwatering aromas of Indian spices and freshly baked bread waft throughout Indian Spicy Kitchen—especially during lunch hours, when chefs stock the all-you-can-eat buffet with a smorgasbord of traditional dishes. In addition to more than a dozen vegetarian entrées, they whip up tender chicken, lamb, and seafood curries, which pool onto plates and get sopped up by warm breads from the tandoor oven.
In the dining room, leather chairs flank tables topped with white-and-red-checkered tablecloths, delicately folded linen napkins, and solitary flowers. Indian Spicy Kitchen also occasionally hosts live music in the form of Bollywood crooners, regional artists, and robots pre-programmed to sing public-domain tunes.