The culinary craftspeople at Spice 9 Indian Cuisine synthesize subtle spiciness with authentic Indian dishes across a collection of menus. Starters such as the assorted vegetarian platter—a heap of seasonal-veggie fritters dusted in chickpea batter—ready palates for vegetable onslaughts ($6), and main courses such as the desi lamb chops ($18) or goat curry ($17) provide tenderly cooked alternatives to mundane meats. The subzi biryani blends saffron spices with basmati rice ($12), and the tandoori shrimp proffers jumbo oven-cooked shrimp to goad talkative mouths into the serene silence of chewing ($18).
Many people would consider warm carrot pudding an adventurous dish, but at Saffron Indian Cuisine, the gajar halwa isn't even on the avant-garde section of the menu. Rather, the traditional Indian dessert joins other Northern Indian classics, including palak paneer combined with fresh spinach and homemade cheese. The shrimp vindaloo is another standout with a sauce so painstakingly balanced, you can offset its mix of tangy and spicy by eating a spoonful of basmati rice or having a friend gently blow into your mouth. As for that avant-garde section, it's where Chef Mahesh—who has worked in multiple 5-star hotels in India—shows off his ability to experiment and invent. His paneer nirvana, for instance, mixes cheese and grilled vegetables in a punchy red-pepper sauce, whereas the sea bass bahaar wears a cloak of coconut-sesame-cashew sauce.
The kitchen staff at Cafe Nirvana fuses together southern and northern Indian specialties, from tandoor chicken tikka cooked in a traditional clay overn to cottage cheese simmered in spicy sauce. The menu changes regularly, and it features vegetarian options.
The practiced chef at Spice South crafts authentic Indian dishes from imported ingredients. To start, diners can break in new bibs with the keema samosa, which features spiced potatoes and ground lamb covered in a cozy pastry blanket ($8). The chicken tikka masala steeps boneless-poultry tidbits in a creamy tomato sauce ($15), and the jhinga dilruba's jumbo shrimp, marinated in yogurt ($17), practice Bikram yoga in the restaurant's clay oven. Vegetarian guests can nosh on the vegetable biryani ($12), which bedecks slow-cooked basmati rice in zesty, herbivorous morsels.
At Curry n Cake, chefs and bakers offer the twin delights of traditional Indian cuisine and custom cakes. While a front counter shows off decorated cakes—available both whole and by the slice, and with eggless and sugarless varieties available—the restaurant menu reveals a large selection of curries and Indian food. Selections include creamy paneer butter masala, lamb kebabs, and tandoori chicken.
Bombay Grille's tandoor clay oven has filled the walls of its elegant dining hall with the fragrance of authentic northern Indian dishes since 1992. As lamb, chicken, fish, and shrimp emerge from the high-heat oven sizzling like butter-coated sunbathers, strips of tandoori-baked naan plunge into the creamy tomato sauce of their signature chicken tikka masala or the spicy gravy of the lamb vindaloo. Cushy beige booths and wood tables linger beneath colorful murals of Indian landscapes and planters full of cheerful pink flowers as customers line up before the expansive spread of a daily lunch buffet. A full-service catering menu can accommodate large parties or furnish business functions, offering office workers reprieve from a monotonous diet of break-room vending-machine tapas. The restaurant is owner Naval Sethi's second venture after spearheading North Carolina's Bombay Palace location, part of an internationally acclaimed chain.