The selection of Indian-inspired eats at Thali is far-reaching. The menu covers fish vindaloo, ginger lamb curry, and vegetarian daal tarka--lentils simmered in mustard, cumin, and chili. Diners can also sample Chinese-influenced dishes with a list of manchurians that includes cauliflower cooked with tomato, masala, and ginger-garlic sauce. Fifteen types of bread, from unleavened roti to chili garlic naan, accompany dishes and serve as a secondary napkin or tertiary baby hat.
Accomplished chefs trained in India and London whip up Indian dishes in Mint Leaf’s Coral Gables and Miami kitchens. The restaurant imports specialty ingredients straight from India, as well as equipment such as granite stone grinders from Mysore, which help make batter for dosas, uthappams (similar to pizza), and other dishes. House-made cottage cheese mixes with a spinach puree in the saag paneer, and curry leaves and mustard seeds mingle with fish filets in the macchili curry. Nine varieties of flatbreads, from plain naan to kulcha stuffed with onions and coriander, scoop up bites of chicken tikka masala and lamb korma. Bollywood music videos play in the background as customers dine amid Mint Leaf’s Indian art and sculptures, including carved stone statues of the god of bobbleheads.
The servers at Indian Chillies helpfully walk first-timers through the extensive menu. Their suggestions cover a range of timeless and modern dishes, from the tandoori chicken—praised by the Sun Sentinel for its "scrumptious charred exterior"—to Indo-Chinese chow mein. Though the kitchen staff labors over several zesty entrees, they specialize in smaller plates, such as samosas, halal chicken wings, and various flatbreads.
Vegan, vegetarian, and meaty plates satisfy diners of all persuasions, whether they're perusing the menu or loading the buffet onto the back of their truck. As their ears bask in Bollywood tunes, guests can finish up by sipping a mango lassi or savoring gulab jamun, a lightly syruped dessert of milk-and-cottage-cheese balls.
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There's a reason CBS Miami hails Maroosh Mediterranean Restaurant as one of the area's Top Spots for Middle Eastern Food—in fact, there are many. First and foremost is the food: everything from Lebanese and Armenian sausages to charcoal-grilled skewers of lamb and crispy falafel with sides of tahini. The chefs go the extra mile to make the meals as authentic as possible, too, pairing dishes with sides of homemade yogurt and topping their basmati rice with roasted almonds.
Yet when recreating the Middle East, Maroosh Mediterranean Restaurant doesn't just stop with the cuisine. The dining room's vibrant collection of pan-Mediterranean accents includes bright red and purple fabrics hanging from the ceiling, an ornate metal chandelier, and framed paintings of musicians and belly dancers. Those paintings even echo reality—the eatery invites belly dancers to perform for private parties, where they mesmerize families and re-inspire chiropractors who've lost their passion.
The seasoned slicers at Bombay Sizzler plate up fresh, made-to-order Indian dishes alongside Pakistani specialties and Bombay-style Chinese cuisine. Housing a trove of nutrition-packed ingredients, the globetrotting menu transports tasters to exotic shores with a cavalcade of starters, including vegetable samosas ($3) and sultry thai soup ($6.99). Sure-handed chefs outfit the Arman steak sandwich ($6.99) with succulent cuts of seasoned beef and a cloak of melted cheese, and the Mongolian ($9.99+) keeps belly-balloons from floating away with anchors made of choice meat, onions, scallions, and a tangy pepper sauce. Awaken sleepy sniffers with the piquant wafts that emanate from the Karahi ($9.99), a spicy tomato curry fused with mutton, or nibble on the tender tenants of a chicken seekh kebab ($8.99) before using bare skewers to point out flaws in a friend's eating form.