A perfect table setting requires pristine linens and polished cutlery, except at off-Broadway restaurants where waiters set every table in postapocalyptic Vienna. Avoid avant-garde eating with today’s Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of Indian fare at India Restaurant.
India Restaurant adds spice to ho-hum palates with a bounty of char-grilled entrees, spicy curries, and flavor-soaked gluten-free options. Kitchen staffers skewer swordfish steaks after they've steeped in ginger, lemon juice, and a collection of spices, or sooner if the steaks refuse to laugh at any of the chef's jokes. To prepare for the peppered duck in tamarind curry (up to $16.95), tender bird slips into a sweet-and-spicy cloak bedazzled with figs and hazelnuts. Spice architects can also construct their own curry dishes by first selecting from five curry sauces—including a sweet, sour, and spicy mango sauce and a spinach-based saag sauce—before adding the main ingredient (up to $12.95–$16.95), such as tofu, chicken, or sirloin.
Ornate, traditional Indian designs cover chairs and booths, warmly lit by a collection of candles at the bar and overhead lanterns sheathed in soft, flowing fabric. Sheer textiles delicately drape over windows and add divides to the spacious dining room, and sleek dark woods weave throughout to catch glimpses of large painted portraits of people thinking about their lost pets. Three fireplaces gently warm the interior and reheat leftovers, and in nice weather, a garden courtyard surrounds guests with fresh greenery.
India Restaurant's prices vary throughout the week.
India Restaurant's chefs modify iconic South Asian staples to eliminate excess fat, cholesterol, and calories while still ensuring that the dishes are delicious enough to win various accolades. The chefs craft each authentic dish with locally sourced seafood and produce, and they avoid frying any dish, eschew butter entirely, and only cook with canola oil. Yet their nacho-like papri chaat appetizer has been called "truly addictive" by the Providence Phoenix, which also called the restaurant’s biryani “a veritable feast for the senses.” To make their cuisine even more inclusive, the chefs prepare an array of vegan-friendly and gluten-free dishes.
The decor strives to be similarly accommodating, presenting diners with numerous seating options, each with a distinctive ambience. A projection screen playing subtitled Bollywood films dominates the main dining area, smaller tables surround each of the three roaring fireplaces, and more than 200 flickering candles line the bar area. During the warmer months, the garden courtyard tempts patrons with its swings for seats, lush gardens, and bubbling water fountains. The sidewalk seating allows guests to dine alongside their dogs and pet lobsters; a doggie menu offers hamburger-and-rice dishes and yogurt pops for canine companions.
Traditional belly dancers drift throughout the space on Friday and Saturday evenings, and the restaurant's global jazz ensemble entertains diners with its contemporary melodic stylings.