A Passage to India

Revel in well-executed Indian cuisine that stretches beyond the scope of fare featured in our other few Indian eateries

How spicy? That's up to you, as Anokha's waiters consistently query customers concerning requested degree: mild, medium, or hot. Unless your means of employment is that of circus fire-eater, I suggest sticking to one of the first two options. The red chili-flecked Goan specialty vindaloo murghi is certainly incendiary enough in a medium state. This reddish-brown chicken breast stew will light fires in your throat but won't stop your taste buds from discerning garlic, vinegar, and perfumed notes of ginger, cumin, and clove. Safed gosht is another seductively spiced stew, this one spiked with coconut milk and laden with luscious lumps of lamb.

Residents of Delhi were unaware of tandoori cooking until the partitioning of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, which brought waves of refugees from the northwest Indian/Pakistani frontier into the city. Some of the newcomers opened restaurants, a tiny one of which, Moti Mahal, specialized in chicken, meats, fish, and bread grilled in a deep clay oven known as the tandoor. It wasn't long before limos were lining up in front of the humble eatery, and Moti Mahal became Delhi's darling dining destination. Nowadays just about every Indian (and Indian-American) restaurant proffers platters of the glowing red foods. Anokha's tandoori is pretty standard stuff, although its sizzling presentation emits enough smoke to make an arsonist salivate, and the accompanying aromas of barbecue meats incite the senses of everyone else — especially those at the nearest tables. The tandoori combo plate is a convenient means of trying more than one meat. More specifically: three juicy, medium-size shrimp; a moist breast and meaty wing of chicken; hunks of stewed lamb shoulder; and a pair of cigar-shape seekh kebabs skewered with minced, assertively seasoned lamb (an invention of the Muslims, who cooked from the old tandoori testament).

Some Indian desserts take getting used to. Gulab jamun, for example, features lightly fried balls of cake soaked in syrup, which sounds fetching enough, but a faint scenting of rose water and cardamom might turn off timid tasters. For a safer bet, try kulfi, ice cream made of thickened milk frozen in a conical mold. Pistachio is the traditional flavor and the one I recommend, but a refreshing mango rendition is also up for grabs.

JOE ROCCO

Location Info

Map

Anokha

3195 Commodore Plaza
Coconut Grove, FL 33133

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Coconut Grove

Details

Open daily for dinner Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday 6:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Closed Mondays.
3195 Commodore Plz, Coconut Grove; 786-552-1030

After nearly eight years in operation, Anokha arguably remains the best local option for Indian food. Indeed it is so satisfying that few will haggle over the automatic eighteen percent gratuity. Still, is that any way to treat God?

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