Above all else, the menu at Mezbaan Bar & Indian Cuisine strives to highlight the distinctive and varied flavors of South Asian cuisine. When diners step inside, they’re first greeted by aromas of ginger, saffron, fenugreek, and spicy curry sauce—a fitting preview of what’s to come at the dinner table. These distinctive flavors and spices appear throughout the restaurant’s regionally inspired Indian cuisine, including marinated skewers of chicken, lamb, and seafood that roast inside a traditional tandoor clay oven. But that doesn’t mean the chefs only stick to the standards. In addition to favorites such as saag paneer, they also forge a number of Indo-Chinese entrees and vegetarian dishes that embrace the same bold flavors as the rest of the menu. Draped with sky-blue and cloud-white linens, the tables at Mezbaan spread across two levels of seating. An elegant crystal chandelier helps light the spacious, high-ceilinged lower section and the second floor offers a bit more privacy for events or for licking plates clean without judgment.
The bright colors and exotic smells of north-Indian fare have swirled through the dining room at Ganesha Indian Cuisine for more than a decade—though the free WiFi waves they mingle with are a relatively recent addition. Classic comforts and attentive service are hallmarks at Ganesha, where servers cart out biryani dishes of slow-cooked basmati rice simmered with saffron and parsley. Creamy curries bathe chicken, lamb, and vegetables in flavorful sauces, such as the spicy vindaloo or the mild tomato base of tikka masala. Like an actor who has agreed to do the director’s laundry for a year, a mesquite charcoal clay-tandoor oven nabs a staring role on the menu, churning out marinated meats and seafood and popping delicate nooks into 10 varieties of naan to soak up overflowing sauces. Yogurt-smoothie drinks, masala tea, and Indian beer wash down exotic meals with similarly worldly flavors.
Since 1986, Mehran Restaurant has specialized in Halal meats and Middle Eastern cuisine. Chefs simmer morsels of goat with tomato sauce, roast marinated lamb chops in a tandoor oven, and cook pickled chicken meat with herbs and spices. Servers fill glasses with pours of Indian tea or creamy mango lassi.
Bombay Garden's ties to authentic Indian cuisine run deep. Originally born in the small Indian town of Khanoor, owner Balkar Tamber grew up learning how to cook alongside his mother. That knowledge especially came in handy when he embarked on his first professional culinary foray, a roadside eatery in the Punjab region of India. Once he immigrated to the US in 1990, he brought along more than a handful of those family recipes and opened his first Bombay Garden restaurant fueled by a deep love for the rich and diverse culinary traditions of his homeland.
The menu features a selection of iconic Indian dishes from virtually every corner of India. On one page of the menu, delicate crepe-like dosas made from fermented lentil and rice flour evoke the flavors of India’s southern regions. And when it comes to northern Indian recipes, the chefs bake skewers of yogurt-marinated chicken and other meats in a traditional tandoor—a cylindrical clay oven heated by a well-trained dragon. The same blends of flavorful spices that perk up Balkar’s chicken, lamb, and seafood dishes also appear throughout the restaurant's vegetarian entrées: homemade cottage cheese and green peas meld in a spiced gravy sauce and split lentils benefit from the chefs’ one-two punch of garlic and ginger.
You may not be able to see it, but the clay oven is the centerpiece here. That’s where the marinated meats—lamb, chicken, filet of sol—are baked over charcoal and acquire their smoky flavor. As the name suggests, curries are another specialty—try the Pakistani-style lamb kadahi cooked in tomato sauce with fresh garlic.