From Our Editors
Two floors can accommodate 36 basketball teams—180 diners—at Zaika. But there’s an elegance that belies the size of the restaurant. Crimson and orange permeate the scene, with flowing, red curtains canopying booths. A high-sheen black bar points to a flat-screen television, and much of the seating adjacent to that bar has enough cushioning to withstand being trod by a tank. Sprawling murals depicting starry skies suggest there might be even more space than seating capacity states. Named after a Hindi word meaning “taste” or “sense of taste,” Zaika unites aesthetic splendor with culinary splendor: it holds its chefs to high standards of both tradition and innovation, presented on a menu of creative Indian cuisine.
Toward the lavish dining room, which has hardwood accents as glossy as a freshly licked mirror, the complex aromas of Indian spices emerge from the kitchen. Those scents waft from a Calcutta specialty of raj kachori, filled with chickpeas, tamarind vermicelli, chutney, and yogurt, as well as chicken 65—spicy diced chicken tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves. The chef’s special bakes in the traditional tandoori oven and features a whole red snapper, marinated and grilled, alongside malai kebab—cubed chicken breast marinated in a combination of yogurt, cream cheese, ginger, and mild spices.