As a culinary palindrome, naan tastes the same backward as it does forward, like the bananab or a Toyota. Take a bite in every direction with today's Groupon: for $30, you get $60 worth of modern Indian fare at Chakra Cuisine. Choose from two locations in Irvine and Beverly Hills.
Chakra Cuisine finds the delicate balance of tradition and creativity in its exotic yet familiar menu and richly hued décor. The Bharat-inspired restaurant evokes a palace of spices: crimson shades of tamarind, coriander greens, and turmeric golds dapple the dining room while waiters bathe in a tub of curry powder. For dinner, first courses such as chicken 65, a stir-fry with curry leaves, bell peppers, and yogurt ($11), get stomach-motors humming before accelerating toward the main courses. The medium-spiced lamb hyderabadi ($22), a south Indian-style lamb curry, sidles up next to modern innovations such as puff-pastry-wrapped chicken in the Chakra murgh ($22), and lobster with a coconut-red-pepper sauce and masala fingerlings ($34). Guests bored of modern envelope flavors can instead lick the kala jamun, a sweet poppy-seed-crusted homemade dumpling fried in delicate rose-cardamom syrup ($8).
An outdoor fire pit, mandarin orange trees, and intimate cabana seating color the Irvine location's romantic ambience, and the Beverly Hills patio can spice up an amorous rendezvous with glittering candlelight, spiral topiaries, and a statue of Wilford Brimley. Although alcoholic beverages are not included in today’s deal, it’s worth noting that the restaurant also shakes up a selection of Chakratinis, each mixed with the specific purpose of realigning individuals’ chakras.
Ravi and Sunitha Koneru don't much care for limitations. Not in their food, their decor, or their vision. When designing the menu for Chakra Cuisine they saw the entirety of India as a source of inspiration, from the tandoori of the North and the curries of the South to the street food of Bombay and the recipes of their native Hyderbad. And then they looked even further. What they found were ingredients such as banana leaves, scallops, and caramelized pineapples—ingredients rarely used in Indian cuisine that expertly matched the flavor profiles they dreamed up. The result is a blend of traditional and modern, where classic dishes such as chicken tikka masala segue into spicy reinventions, including a vegetable masala quiche.
The dining space is likewise a mix of old and new. Indian accents anchor the sleek, contemporary aesthetic of the dining room and private lounge, while colors drawn from the dishes themselves combine to create a cohesive backdrop. Red and gold dominate the interior, but brighter colors surround the bar, notably inside its seven specialty martinis. As for the outdoor patios, their tables center around a circular fire pit, whose flames tempt guests to sit amid the mandarin-orange trees and tell scary stories about hitchhikers with samosas for hands.