Traditional Indian meals served on gilded-edge plates infuse Maharaja Palace with a bouquet of curry, mustard seed, and mint. Crisp pani poori puff appetizers give a satisfying crackle as teeth break through to their chickpea-and-potato-filled cores, and drifts of basmati rice arrive tossed with green peas or beefed up with saffron and chicken. A simmering array of vegetable, seafood, chicken, and tandoori entrees emerge from pots or a clay oven, helping owners of factory-defect atlases experience the world's other side. Garlic naan or pudina paratha wipe plates clean of sauce, and glasses brimming with wine, beer, or sweet lassi clink occasionally, like the world’s laziest steel-drum player.
With Bombay Talkie, Sunitha Ramaiah envisions a restaurant whose cuisine reflects her own life experiences, which include a childhood in southern India and adulthood in the cultural m?lange of New York City. Her chefs, she says, serve "the food of my childhood, the food of everyday India," basing their menu on recipes from Indian roadside caf?s and using fragrant blends of fenugreek, tamarind, and cloves, which characterize meals from the country's southern regions. Bombay Talkie sets itself apart from tradition, however, by serving dishes in a tapas style, with large entrees minimized in favor of smaller, well-composed plates of vibrant cuisine. Lemon-tinged rice balances red swaths of tandoori chicken, and the lamb chops' cilantro-mint sauce lends a splash of color more vibrant than Willy Wonka?s contact lenses.
The gallery-white walls and exposed brickwork of Bombay Talkie's dining room feature paintings of Bollywood film scenes, alluding to India's ubiquitous displays of movie billboards. Carved from a single piece of teak, a stool-lined communal table dominates one entire side of the dining room, with the rest of the space featuring a similarly earth-tone collection of custom-designed leather booths.:m]]
Shalom Bombay operates under the strict supervision of The Orthodox Union, meaning compliance with kosher dietary laws, such as nixing milk and butter for olive oil, and replacing meat from tofu birds with the vine-ripened alternative. This approach has earned Shalom Bombay a unique following, including celebs such as Rosie O'Donnell, Matisyahu, and Senator Menendez. Bombay's more than 20 vegetarian entrées have also helped earn the 50-seat eatery positive reviews from both The New York Times and The Jewish Voice.
Four-foot flames warm the faces of Bombay chefs as they fuse beef and lamb with sumptuous accents of ginger, onion, and fenugreek. While fresh naan and cashew accented chicken bake in Shalom's clay tandoor oven, a fully stocked bar serves up unique beers such as India-imported '1947'––a nod to the year of India's independence, and universally agreed to be the best year for salt water taffy.
Reflected in its name, Chote Nawab sources its menu inspiration from the Indian city of Lucknow’s chote nawabs—“little princes”—who were famous for their kebab-crafting royal kitchens and hospitality. Their signature kebabs come to life as cooks place skewers lined with grilled garlic broccoli, rolls of lamb, boneless chicken thighs, and other kebabable morsels into tandoori ovens. The cooks also specialize in Hyderabadi dum biryani, which involves preparing basmati rice and on-the-bone meat inside a sealed pot designed to trap in flavors and keep out food-licking ghosts. Patrons also enjoy a modern version of Lucknow princes’ renowned hospitality inside a dining area featuring high ceilings and minimalistic concrete walls lined with colorful Indian artwork.
Inside the casual, orange-rimmed dining room of Curry Dream, snowy tablecloths provide elegant, neutral backdrops for plates of colorful Indian dishes, whose halal and kosher meats harmonize with other imported ingredients and meticulously balanced spice blends. Meat-centric dishes—including chicken cooked in a clay oven or covered in curry sauce—share menu space with more than 14 vegetarian options that range from mushrooms cooked with spinach to veggie biryani. Diners can complement meals with 10 bread selections, including white naan filled with housemade cheese as well as whole-wheat paratha stuffed with mashed potatoes, light spices, and the occasional engagement ring.
Curry and Tandoor Corner reimagines centuries of Indian culinary traditions with a diverse bill of fare that showcases exotically spiced curries, vegetarian entrees, and tandoori dishes. Oven-baked naan sops up saucy morsels of chicken, vegetables, lamb, and fish, augmented with zesty chili peppers and curry spices. Skilled chefs accessorize their meticulously crafted tandoori dishes with mint or mango chutney, creating a flavorful punch that doesn’t require taking an uppercut from the Hamburger Helper mascot.