The White Tiger Restaurant

$$$$ ($15-$24)

Editorial Review

NOTE: The restaurant serves a weekday lunch buffet and a Sunday brunch buffet.

The menu draws from northern Indian fare, typically lighter and less spicy than southern specialties. Using no pre-blended spices, chefs concoct their own subtle mixtures for each dish. They serve only basmati rice, traditionally grown in India's Doon Valley, which is irrigated with water from the Himalayas. Waiters inevitably recommend the namkeen thali combination platter to start. This appetizer consists of small portions of tikka, succulent medallions of marinated chicken and shrimp; seekh, spiced minced lamb patties; samosas, small pies stuffed with peas and potatoes; and pakoras, vegetable fritters. At $6.95, the platter is a good value and just the right size for two to share. Entrees include curries, grilled meats, biryani (rice dishes) and tandoori dishes, charbroiled in a clay oven. Popular choices are chicken vindaloo ($11.95), chicken and potatoes in a velvety, tomato-based sauce, and malai jheenga ($14.95), jumbo shrimp in an exotic creamy sauce spiced with cumin, cardamom and cinnamon. Vegetarians will find nirvana here: The menu offers eight unusual meatless dishes, including saag Paneer, fresh farmer's cheese cooked in spinach, and navrattan, a spicy stew of mixed vegetables, nuts and raisins. The White Tiger draws an eclectic crowd, including locals and out-of-town devotees of Indian food. In warm weather, some come purely for the pleasure of dining outdoors on the restaurant's spacious deck, surely one of the city's finest.

-- Arin Pereira