The chefs at Swagath Indian Restaurant assemble a menu of meatless Indian specialties cooked with healthy ingredients and robust, exotic flavors. Reaching for organic and seasonal items whenever possible, chefs roll up crepe-like dosas made from a variety of grains and top them with anything from chutney to curry to onions sliced as thin as sitar strings. Thicker South Indian pancakes, or uthappam, come studded with cheese, chilies, or veggies, and rice dishes arrive seasoned with tamarind, raw coconut, or fresh homemade yogurt. More than a dozen entrees showcase stars of the crisper draw, such as cauliflower, eggplant, okra, or peas, and a trio of garlic- and onion-free dishes cater kindly to kissing-booth employees.
Kumar Iyer has spent years in the hospitality industry, managing restaurants aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and working the floor at local restaurants. He learned how to take care of people during these experiences, but more importantly, he codified what he thought made a great restaurant. When the time was right, he brought all of those ideas to his own culinary venture, Rangoli. From the laying of the bricks to the creation of the menu, Kumar made sure every element matched his lofty expectations.
Today, Kumar and his team serve up an eclectic array of Indian cuisine gathered from all over the continent. They prepare an exhaustive selection of curries, including a Konkani recipe called chicken xacuti, which uses flavors such as poppy seeds, fennel, and a tart fruit known as kokum in its creamy sauce. They also roast meat in traditional tandoori clay ovens, the blazing-hot vessels known for imparting their searing heat to lamb kebabs, whole chickens, and slightly smaller, more adorable clay ovens.
In India's capital of New Delhi, there sits a small chunk of space called Delhi 6, where the region's food lovers congregate for the abundance of authentic Indian cuisine. So, when Seema Sharma and her husband, Ajay Kasana, made good on their dream and opened a restaurant in Frederick County, naming it Delhi6 was a no-brainer. "I grew up all my childhood eating that food," Sharma once told the Town Courier, "it's engrained in my mind."
Inside Delhi6, amber-colored walls mix with dark hardwood floors to create a warm, rich contrast. Through glass windows, visitors can peer into the kitchen, where chefs are busy grinding the restaurant's spices and cooking up daily-baked Indian breads. On the walls, Sharma made sure to feature decorative reminders of Delhi6's roots, including more than 8,000 Indian bangle bracelets, which hang as a nod to the vendors who line New Delhi streets doling out artisan goods.
Masala Wok's expansive menu features new Asian, Thai, and Indian flavors to help diners recreate the wondrous lies of Marco Polo, gentleman fabricator. Accompany your stomach's journey down the Spice Road with an appetizer of zesty battered chicken lollipops, an Indian take on wings (four for $4.99, eight for $8.49), before choosing your favorite flavor-corner of the East with a main course. Try a subcontinental delicacy such as the spicy southern curry with red-pepper-bedecked fish, shrimp, chicken, lamb, or paneer in a mustard-coconut sauce ($8.99), or head for steamy Southeast Asian environs with the Thai-influenced spicy basil plate ($8.50 for chicken, $8.35 paneer, $9.50 shrimp or fish). Lock lips with the orange chicken, stir-fried with scallions and carrots in orange sauce ($8.50), or skewer your stomach's overwhelming sense of emptiness with a chicken malai kabob—yogurt-marinated boneless chicken kabobs grilled with cheese, spices, and cilantro and served with rice and naan ($8.99).
The chefs at Supper Club of India create authentic North Indian cuisine ranging from clay-oven dishes to specialties such as the gosht kolhapuri, a hot, spicy curry. Whether dishes are made with lamb, chicken, or vegetables, each is prepared in the traditional style, as it was for the kings of India or anyone walking in the kitchen wearing a crown.