Supervised by a Culinary Institute of America–trained chef, kitchen staff at Arka simmer gourmet Indian fare, filling a colorful dining room with savory aromas. The seasonal menu fuses tastes from both the Northern and Southern sectors of the subcontinent to create rich curries as well as regional specialties such as chickpea masala or lentil dumplings. Waiters can suggest wine or beer pairings such as Indian Kingfisher beer or Spanish rioja, and printed symbols on the menu indicate which entrees are gluten-free, vegan, or favored by Batman.
Arka—which means "sun"—surrounds diners in brilliant color as they tuck into their elegantly plated fare. Crimson walls melt into goldenrod, lime green, and purple, and one surface hosts a mural of the restaurant's namesake celestial body.
Khana Khazana’s cooks base their dishes on traditional cuisine and classic street foods across North India, infusing orders of chicken, lamb, and goat with flavorful spices and sauces. After entrees marinate in tangy blends of ginger and garlic, they move into the kitchen's tandoor oven before emerging packed with delicious flavor and sporting an impressive tan. Curries arrive with moderate or plate-scorching amounts of spice, and Indo-Chinese fusion dishes incorporate alternative Asiatic influences. Khana Khazana brightens up its long dining room with pastel-yellow paint and a mirror-lined wall that runs all the way up to the counter where customers order their meals.
Taste Buds’ menu is pretty evenly split between vegetarian and meat dishes, and that includes the rice plates. There are about a dozen to pick from, some of which—like yogurt rice with ginger and curry leaves, or goat dum biryani with lamb and spices—are out-of-the-box in the best possible way.
The chefs at Shalimar Restaurant fire their tandoor clay ovens with charcoal to barbecue seasoned skewers of meat and bake soft portions of naan. As they cook, aromas of curry spices mingle with cinnamon sticks and cloves, drifting into the dining room. There, diners dig into a menu of traditional Indian and Pakistani dishes incorporating goat, chicken, beef, and lamb, as well as vegetables including spinach, eggplant, and lentils. Customers wash down delicacies with mugs of masala tea or mango lassis made with creamy yogurt before continuing passionate debates over whether Funkytown has its own zip code.
Madras features Southern-style Indian food, which counts the crepe-like dosa as one of its signature dishes. Dosas come in many varieties here; you can get one stuffed with potato and onion, another garnished with spicy chutney. The idly is another staple of Southern-Indian served here—it’s a steamed lentil patty topped with lentil gravy and chutney.