Pooja Cuisine of India’s owners, Asha and Satish, opened their eatery to pay homage to the distinctive dishes originated by the restaurants and chefs of their Indian homeland. They specialize in vegetarian and vegan Indian fare, such as delicate rice dosas stuffed with curried vegetables or fresh cheese and all-you-can-eat thali platters. Their chefs whip up spicy morsels for dine-in customers and for their catering business, where they transport homestyle meals to events such as weddings, corporate meetings, and World’s Greatest Grandpa award ceremonies.
Indian cuisine is famously complex, but diners at Koyla Indian Restaurant get at least a peek at how it's prepared. The restaurant's signature cooking method is right in the name—koyla means "coal"—and chefs use its heat in full view within an open kitchen. Cinnamon and cloves, garlic and saffron fill the air as marinated chicken, shrimp, and goat simmer and sizzle. Although grounded in the cuisine of Northern India, founder Deep Singh and his chefs demonstrate a strong taste for experimentation. That's evident in the large menu's Indo-Chinese section, which holds hybrids such as chili paneer—the traditional Indian cheese spiked with house-made chili sauce. Pesto chicken and calamari masala reflect Singh's time as the proprietor of a small Italian cafe.
A mural of an especially cuddly-looking Taj Mahal brightens one wall of Koyla's softly-lit dining room. The motif continues as painted chili peppers wind around the room behind an ample buffet, served alongside champagne on the weekends.
Just because Indian food is filled with spices doesn't mean it has to set your tongue on fire. That's the philosophy at Haandi Indian Cuisine, where chefs, owners, and brothers Hartaj and Sartaj Singh use a bevy of North Indian spices when flavoring their authentic dishes. A careful dash of chili has the power to elevate a mild dish to the medium threshold or even to "Indian spicy," but only when the customer asks for it. Tandoori clay ovens churn out discs of piping hot naan bread and platters of marinated meats and seafood, while vegan dishes come together without the use of meat, dairy, or catnip.
Two things can be found around Aroma Grill's lacquered tables: plates of flavorful Indian and Indo-Chinese cuisine, and delighted diners ready to enjoy a meal together. From specialty dishes baked inside the tandoor oven to simple, savory street food, the kitchen crafts a menu of rich dishes that showcase the famous aromas and flavors of Indian cooking. The restaurant also breaks out chafing dishes to present lunch buffets and banquet spreads or to serve as shields during food fights.
The chefs at the Blue Peacock pull recipes from all over India, but they have an especially soft spot for Punjab. This fondness is evident in every serving of garlic naan, lamb curry, and the particularly popular chicken nirvana?chicken and potatoes in a coconut-milk gravy. The menu also revolves around the tandoor oven, which roasts skewered lamb kabobs at 800 degrees, the exact temperature of the most delicious part of the sun.
Although meat abounds on the Blue Peacock's menu, there are also numerous vegetarian plates. Shahi paneer, for example, features homemade Indian cheese and nuts cooked with tomatoes and ginger. As for drinks, the beverage selection ranges from ginger-spiced lemonade to wines and Indian beers.
• One appetizer (up to an $11.95 value) • Two entrees (up to a $55.90 value) • Two beers (a $13.90 value) New Ashoka Palace's chefs wrangle Punjabi-style cuisine, which fills the restaurant with the warming aromas of northern India's traditional dishes and fresh spices. Embark on eastern journeys with appetizers such as a duo of crispy samosas, which smuggle delicious cargo in crisp dough shells like a baker's luggage. The selection of entrees includes tender tandoori chicken, which gains its warm aura steeping in marinade over hot coals in a traditional clay oven. Lamb vindaloo mingles with potatoes in a spicy gravy, and fresh peas and homemade cheese engage in a square dance conducted against the rollicking piquant notes of the mutter paneer. Cool down palates with bottles of Indian-imported Taj Mahal or Kingfisher beers, which fuel lively conversation and fan letters to Bacchus.