June 2005Artful plates and exotic flavors add to the feel of what has to be one of the more glamorous Indian restaurants around. Fresh fruit daiquiris--we like the mango--start things off with a flourish. You'll need them to cool things down--this place is not spice-shy. Hariyali kebab, a fiery mint-laced chicken drumstick, awakens the palate, as does the addictive mint chutney, one of several condiments that arrive with the peppery cracker bread known as pappadam. Milder but no less delicious is garlic shrimp, gently sautéed with wine and honey. Aloo chat papri is a starter found at many Indian restaurants, but nowhere is this heap of chickpeas, flour crisps, chutney, and yogurt presented in such sculptural form.
Familiar dishes like tandoori lamb chops, chicken kashmiri in a creamy almond-and-dried-fruit sauce, and fiery Goan-fish curry, are all beautifully done. The whole fish cooked tandoori-style in the clay oven, served with okra and garlic naan, makes a smashing meal for two that's still in Cheap Eats territory. Rose-flavored ice cream and Malai kulfi, thick frozen milk flavored with pistachio or mango, keep the romance going through dessert.