Pooja Cuisine of India’s owners, Asha and Satish, opened their eatery to pay homage to the distinctive dishes originated by the restaurants and chefs of their Indian homeland. They specialize in vegetarian and vegan Indian fare, such as delicate rice dosas stuffed with curried vegetables or fresh cheese and all-you-can-eat thali platters. Their chefs whip up spicy morsels for dine-in customers and for their catering business, where they transport homestyle meals to events such as weddings, corporate meetings, and World’s Greatest Grandpa award ceremonies.
Indian cuisine is famously complex, but diners at Koyla Indian Restaurant get at least a peek at how it's prepared. The restaurant's signature cooking method is right in the name—koyla means "coal"—and chefs use its heat in full view within an open kitchen. Cinnamon and cloves, garlic and saffron fill the air as marinated chicken, shrimp, and goat simmer and sizzle. Although grounded in the cuisine of Northern India, founder Deep Singh and his chefs demonstrate a strong taste for experimentation. That's evident in the large menu's Indo-Chinese section, which holds hybrids such as chili paneer—the traditional Indian cheese spiked with house-made chili sauce. Pesto chicken and calamari masala reflect Singh's time as the proprietor of a small Italian cafe.
A mural of an especially cuddly-looking Taj Mahal brightens one wall of Koyla's softly-lit dining room. The motif continues as painted chili peppers wind around the room behind an ample buffet, served alongside champagne on the weekends.
Just because Indian food is filled with spices doesn't mean it has to set your tongue on fire. That's the philosophy at Haandi Indian Cuisine, where chefs, owners, and brothers Hartaj and Sartaj Singh use a bevy of North Indian spices when flavoring their authentic dishes. A careful dash of chili has the power to elevate a mild dish to the medium threshold or even to "Indian spicy," but only when the customer asks for it. Tandoori clay ovens churn out discs of piping hot naan bread and platters of marinated meats and seafood, while vegan dishes come together without the use of meat, dairy, or catnip.
Ravi and Sunitha Koneru don't much care for limitations. Not in their food, their decor, or their vision. When designing the menu for Chakra Cuisine they saw the entirety of India as a source of inspiration, from the tandoori of the North and the curries of the South to the street food of Bombay and the recipes of their native Hyderbad. And then they looked even further. What they found were ingredients such as banana leaves, scallops, and caramelized pineapples—ingredients rarely used in Indian cuisine that expertly matched the flavor profiles they dreamed up. The result is a blend of traditional and modern, where classic dishes such as chicken tikka masala segue into spicy reinventions, including a vegetable masala quiche.
The dining space is likewise a mix of old and new. Indian accents anchor the sleek, contemporary aesthetic of the dining room and private lounge, while colors drawn from the dishes themselves combine to create a cohesive backdrop. Red and gold dominate the interior, but brighter colors surround the bar, notably inside its seven specialty martinis. As for the outdoor patios, their tables center around a circular fire pit, whose flames tempt guests to sit amid the mandarin-orange trees and tell scary stories about hitchhikers with samosas for hands.
Haveli Fine Indian Cuisine Of India charms visitors with tender morsels of chicken tikka, spiced and marinated lamb, and appetizers of paneer, papads, and mashed potato. The d?cor imbues a familiar, yet exotic atmosphere, with its sunny, golden walls, booth benches, and Oriental rug patterns on floors and chairs. After guests have settled into these environs, they feast on kewered shish kebab and garlicky shrimp tandoori, ending meals with honeyed gulab jamun, and pistachio-flecked matka kulfi ice cream.
Lacing its authentic home-style cooking with natural spices and ingredients, Dosa Express specializes in South Indian cuisine, particularly its delectable dosas—thin pancakes filled with potatoes and vegetables that can be dipped in a variety of sauces. After priming your palate with an opener of mouthwatering medhu vada, golden-fried lentil flour doughnuts ($5.50), dive into the eatery’s 20 kinds of dosas, served crispy or soft upon request. The rava masala dosa stuffs a piquant potato masala curry inside a mildly-spiced, cashew-tinged blanket ($8.95), and the onion and chili uthappam cranks up your body’s internal temperature with a mélange of onion, chili, ginger, and cilantro inside a lentil and rice wrapping ($8.50). Dosa Express' popular lunch ($7.95–$8.95) and dinner ($8.95) buffets, meanwhile, give the indecisive a chance to sample a little bit of everything—or competitive eaters a chance to determine once and for all who has the bigger gaping hole in their abdomen. Whether diners order à la carte or all you can eat, each scrumptious, sinus-clearing delight at Dosa Express can be complemented with a refreshing Indian beer ($4–$6.95) or a chilled, fresh mango lassi ($2.95)—a smooth, sweet yogurt drink.