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June 2004 Tandoori Nights

Finally, a place swanky enough for a big date yet reasonable enough for a slim wallet.

Finally, a place swanky enough for a big date yet reasonable enough for a slim wallet. Shimmering silks, elegant mirrors, and a ceiling mural of the midnight sky make for an exotic experience. Jazzy cocktails—fruit daiquiris, mango coolers, and lassis—are poured in the bar. Nibble on crisp lentil-flour pappadams with dipping sauces of pomegranate, mustard, and cilantro and mint. Or go for the Raj Kachori, a mini-pillow of fried poori that yields chickpeas, yogurt, mint, and chutney. Other tasty morsels are prawn pakora, garlic shrimp with honey, and an unassuming chicken drumstick, called haryali kabob, that teases the palate with mint and hot chilis. Prices are a bit steeper than at other Indian restaurants, but unless you go for high-ticket items like whole leg of lamb cooked in the tandoor, you should be fine.

Curries like Bombay fish with tomatoes and onions and creamy chicken makhani are delicious. Lamb vindaloo is appropriately scorching, while lamb korma kashmiri sways gently with fruit, nuts, and cream. Of the kebabs, the ground-lamb Seekh version is always dependable. An impressive vegetable lineup includes the house specialty—potatoes stuffed with Indian cheese. Scoop up the excess with Kashmiri naan filled with nuts and dried fruit. Fruit is a motif at dessert, too. Both house-made mango or pistachio kulfi are dressed with ribbons of tropical fruit purée

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