The delicate spice combinations that grace the dishes at Saffron Las Vegas have been perfected over thousands of years, which contrasts with the freshness of the ingredients from which the dishes are made. Chefs simmer lamb, goat, and chicken in signature rich, buttery sauces, full of saffron and curry. On Fridays and Saturdays, they offer Kosher and Halal meals available via buffet between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.
The owners’ sense of presentation extends from their food to their décor, as they hand select every plate and saucer on which their food is presented. They decorate their 150-person banquet hall with a similar meticulousness, wrapping the support pillars in neatly spiraling strings of white lights and draping the space in soft fabrics.
Inside chef Binu Sridharan’s kitchen lies a portal that connects Las Vegas to India via his Northern and Southern Indian recipes. Located steps off the Las Vegas strip, Binu's restaurant, India Masala, is filled with the smells of his southern seafood curries and minced meats sizzling in traditional tandoori ovens. He also throws in a few Indo-Chinese recipes to diversify flavors. From brightly lit wooden tables, diners take in views of the bustling Las Vegas nightlife, with its neon signs, glamorous shows, and fresh, hopeful dice just rolling into town.
Executive chef Kuldeep Singh’s diverse selection of artisan Indian eatables beautifully complement Origin’s elegant interior, where an earthy wooden floor upholds sleek, dark furniture and walls painted in golden yellow honey. With lunch comes the chance to nibble on vegetable nilgiri, a savory assortment of non-meats cooked in green gravy and paired with buttered naan that doubles as an inter-table frisbee ($9.95). Guests can tickle their insides with a dinner starter such as tandoori black tiger shrimp, whose crustaceous tastiness is spiced with ajwain seed, kaffir lime, tamarind, raisin chutney, and balsamic reduction ($15). Next, upgrade to an entree of creamy chicken curry ($16) or a southern Indian-style stir-fry of diced lamb with curry leaves, black mustard seeds, kashmiri chili, coconut, and lemon rice ($18).
Dijon and orange walls evoke the sky at dusk. Heavy honey-hued drapes flow down the windows. The remodeling is finished, and after 11 years in business, owners Surjit Heera and Devinder Singh couldn't be happier: India Palace's decor now truly parallels the warm earthiness of a menu of north and south Indian recipes steeped in spices and broiled over smoldering mesquite. Lacquered brown tables groan beneath tandoori dishes, which eagerly unleash clouds of fragrance after long stints in clay ovens. Sinking slowly into a burgundy chair, patrons question waiters about India Palace's catering services, which delight guests and save hosts from deciding which wine goes with which cut of piñata.
Melque Rodrigues, owner of Namaste Indian Cuisine, doesn’t finish her work with the final course—she personally entertains patrons by soaring through live performances of jazz and pop songs every night of the week. With such a hands-on owner, it is no surprise that the menu covers so much culinary ground. Unlike a Christmas bonus from a gruel factory, the menu includes a wide range of ingredients, which chefs craft into chicken and shrimp cooked in clay oven and selections specifically for vegans and vegetarians. The meatless dishes lean heavily on housemade cheese and lentils, and chefs cloak offerings for omnivores in sauces with vinegar, cream, and tomato bases.
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 mélange 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 cafés 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]]