Spice in the City opened in the super-swanky Dallas Power & Light building downtown this week, offering a trim menu of classic Indian dishes. You have to enter through the apartment lobby and walk toward the back of the building -- there is no sidewalk storefront -- but once you find the counter it's business as usual. The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner during the work week, and also offer catering services.
Orange balloons attached to a now-open sign danced in a chilly breeze as owner Navin Hariprasad served his first customers. His little kitchen turned out chicken tikka masala, saag paneer, dal and other curries plus a number of pre-made flat breads, samosas and other snacks, all neatly tucked in plastic packaging and stacked in paper bags.
I stopped in and tried the saag paneer, and was happy to find Hariprasad diverged from the standard recipe you find at most Indian American restaurants. The spinach leaves are left partly chopped up instead of ground to a paste, lending the dish a fresher flavor and a bit more chew. The raita I ordered had some texture, too. It was packed with diced green pepper and cucumber.
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Hariprasad brands his restaurant as a healthful one, but (thankfully) there are a few fun fried things on the menu. Paneer pakoras (deep-fried cheese) should keep you sated, as will the potato samosas.
Like the building that hosts it, Spice in the City is still a work in progress. The lobby has just been painted and construction is ongoing. The restaurant should be fully open in the coming weeks as the construction wraps up. That's when the Dallas Power & Light building will proudly display their new motto: "You may never be able to afford to live here, but you can always eat here." And Commerce Street will bathe in the scent of cardamom.
1512 Commerce Street, Suite #101, spiceinthecitydallas.com