With more than 20 years of cooking northern Indian cuisine under its belt, Zaika’s culinary team is well versed in simmering curries and slow baking marinated meats, along with fixing a smattering of southern Indian dishes to boot. They cook skewered lamb over charcoal, douse boneless chicken with cashew-nut sauces, cook shrimp in the traditional tandoor oven, and mix goat into that spicy gravy made famous by the holiday classic Mama’s Spicy Thanksgiving. The kitchen’s vegetarian options include spice-coated spinach with homemade indian cheese, along with crepes and pancakes in the southern Indian style. Dinners and lunch buffets unfold in Zaika’s spacious dining room, while an outdoor deck accommodates diners in May through September.
Filling barking bellies with authentic Indian dishes, chefs at Jewel of India on Lark present guests with a vast, award-winning menu of tasty fare. The many meat dishes are made exclusively with halal ingredients, while a bevy of savory vegetarian dishes, such as the cheesy paneer tikka masala, satisfies meat-free appetites. Lunchtime visitors find a buffet every day. Historically used for toasting s?mores and destroying old bank statements, the tandoor (a clay oven) is utilized for firing such specialties as the boti kebab that boasts marinated and seasoned leg of lamb and comes in a choice of spice levels. The restaurant's variety, authenticity, and deliciousness has earned it two consecutive awards from Metroland.
After more than three decades in business, the owners of Sitar Indian Restaurant often see the children of their first generation of customers pass through their doors. Perhaps these customers return for the restaurant's focus on authentic Indian cuisine, especially the classic dishes of its Northern states. In all their cooking, Sitar's chefs rely on a hallmark of North Indian cuisine: the tandoor. In this clay oven, portions of chicken, lamb, and fish simmer in spiced gravies and curries. These items are joined by others ranging from vegetarian biryani rice dishes to baskets of vegetable-stuffed naan. Chefs can prepare any dish with mild, medium, or heavy spice upon request, creating meals that can tickle the tongue or quickly melt a scary-looking snowman. Throughout the day, these dishes decorate tables dressed in bright saffron tablecloths, where patrons dine surrounded by Indian tapestries and musical instruments on display.
The chefs at Saffron Place take spices seriously. Drawing on shelves of cumin, curry, fresh ginger, and garlic, they craft each dish individually to account for each person's preferred level of spiciness, be it mild to smoking hot. The individual preparation of each order ensures that their traditional north Indian and Bengali dishes arrive at tables still steaming from the stove or easily startled dragons. Servers carry goat curry, chicken tikka masala, and vegetarian platters to tables or customers waiting for takeout orders.
The chefs at Masala rain Indian and Nepali seasonings down upon succulent meats slow-cooked inside a tandoor clay oven and simmered veggies flooded with sauce. Divided into two, Masala’s menu features Indian favorites such as curries, skewered lamb cubes, and 13 types of Indian bread, including hand-stretched garlic naan, as well as Nepali dishes such as mo-mo cha steamed dumplings filled with veggies or chicken. Within the eatery’s yellow-hued walls, a full bar cohabitates with a daily lunch buffet, which arranges tasty eats in a row, like a police lineup of the California Raisins.
Glowing sconces line the crimson and cream walls inside Namaste India, where traditional Indian dishes adorn linen-topped tables and fill the air with spiced aromas. Marinated lamb, chicken, and seafood slumber inside a clay tandoor oven until they're mildly smoky and tender throughout, while other proteins and vegetables steep in rich curry sauces, aptly scooped up with fresh-baked naan bread or ladled over delicate basmati rice. Patrons can wash down meals with sweet, salted, or mango-flavored lassi drinks, or snatch a classic dessert such as gulab jamun—deep-fried milk dumplings that are soaked in syrup and delivered to tables via an air gun.