Spice India's chefs follow Punjabi traditions as they cook up authentic northern Indian cuisine to fill hearty lunch buffets with saucy fish curries, lamb vindaloo, and vegetarian paneers. While meaty kabobs cook in tandoori ovens, cooks knead more than 15 specialty breads, including garlic naan, unleavened paneer kulcha filled with homemade cottage cheese, and their house bread stuffed with marinated chicken. Guests can request a preferred level of spiciness to stop dishes from overwhelming their taste buds or setting the tablecloth on fire when spilled. Some nights, a live jazz band plays as guests sip the beer and wine they've brought to this BYOB eatery.
Every Indian kitchen has a spice box brimming with seeds, stalks, barks, stems, and leaves. But really, what's in the box depends on the chefs and their background. In Spice India's case, the fragrant case is rife with the garlic, coriander, and ginger for hearty lamb and goat curries cooked in a tandoori oven. Surrounded by canary-yellow walls and colorful portraits, biryani dishes descend, layered with dried fruits, nuts, and essence of saffron. As the murmur of conversation swells, a full lunch and dinner buffet brims with masala and hearty seafood vindaloo and draws nervous glances from belts on their last day before retirement. To the pulse of live jazz music on select evenings, guests are encouraged to take advantage of Spice India's BYOB policy and bring their own libation of choice.
Flavours of India is all about choices. Not only does the restaurant offer a daily lunch buffet and a huge menu, it also introduces diners to reinvented Indian dishes served alongside ages-old classics. Tandoori oven-cooked entrees, South Indian specialties such as rice crepes stuffed with potatoes, and creamy curry dishes with chicken, lamb, shrimp, or vegetables satisfy taste buds with flavor-bursting offerings. Diners can end their meals on a sweet note with a traditional mango lassi drink or desserts such as Indian-style pistachio ice cream and carrots cooked in milk.
At Aman's Indian Cuisine, traditional spices, herbs, and vegetables transport tongues to the other side of the globe with Indian classic vegetarian and omnivorous menus. Saag paneer's glaciers of house-made cheese bob through creamed-spinach waters rippling with mild spices ($10.95), and ginger and garlic greet taste buds making contact with tadka dal's yellow lentils ($9.95). After it's puréed, baingan bharta's grilled eggplant mixes with a spice-adorned combination of tomatoes, onions, and peas ($10.95) as skillfully as two mischievous children in one white suit mix in with a crowd of departing astronauts.
At Chinnar Indian Cuisine, spices are so intrinsic to the food that the menu has a glossary explaining the flavors and functions of each one. Ginger and garlic, for example, lend a sharp taste and aroma to kadai with lamb and green peppers, while black pepper gives you the ability to roar cartoon flames. The same attention to detail goes into tandoori entrees baked in a clay oven, from chicken tikka to lobster tail.
Executive chef and owner Bharat Luthra named his restaurant Khajuraho after a town in Madhya Pradesh, India—a town famous for a series of Hindu and Jain temples filled with erotic monuments. Like those iconic statues, the sights, smells, and tastes of Luthra’s Indian cuisine create a vivid statement in support of sensuality and the enjoyment of life. His restaurant's elegant white-clothed tables, great enough in number to seat up to 120, stage feasts fit for mild to spicy palates and carnivorous to vegetarian appetites. Luthra bakes succulent marinated chicken inside a tandoori clay oven, spikes fresh seafood with garlic and ginger, and keeps vegetable balls from rolling off the plate with a smooth cream sauce and repurposed bowling-alley bumpers.