A happy find in Indian cuisine comes out of Plano and Fort Worth with a tiny restaurant called Maharaja. The very tidy and well appointed restaurant serves up a very fine version of both Northern and Southern Indian cuisine. That means the restaurant is strong for both vegetarians and omnivores. For the latter you will find beef, seafood, lamb and chicken dishes to satisfy those meaty urges, all in your favorite comfort sauces which is perfect for the turning weather. The dishes will definitely warm you up on a breezy Fall evening.
You will want to start your evening off with a cup of madras soup, the coconut-tomato soup with a hint of spice. This is definitely the ultimate in tomato soup. Also the raita salad is particularly cooling when set against some of the spicier dishes. This is made with fresh yogurt, whipped and blended with shredded cucumber, tomatoes and chopped cilantro.
A fantastic sharable dish to start with is the tandoori platter. A tandoor is a special oven used much like you might use a grill. They are extremely hot, and cook food very quickly. Maharaja uses coal in their tandoor, which is a bit rare to find in a restaurant which typically would use gas. The coal gives the meats and breads a special charred flavor, adding yet another facet to each dish. The tandoori platter is a mix of lamb kabobs and chicken tikka with onions and peppers. This is served sizzling, much like you would see fajitas in a Mexican restaurant. You could actually order this as an entree and be extremely happy.
There are plenty of hearty entrees to choose from. We particularly enjoy dining family style to allow a large variety of tastes on one plate. This day we chose chicken tikka masala, which is chicken cooked in the tandoori oven and laden with a very creamy tomato sauce with a hint of spice. Also, no Indian meal would be complete without a serving of saag paneer. Paneer is the homemade cow’s milk cheese that is pressed into tiny cubes. For this dish the firm cheese is served in a creamy spinach sauce. The spice level in this dish is a bit more than the masala, but still considered mild. For a bit more spice we ordered the lamb curry which is a Kashmiri style curry sauce, and the spiciest we tasted that evening.
For those wanting more heat, go for the vindaloo sauce. It will make your eyes water a bit. Very tasty. Maharaja also has a large selection of biryanis, the heavenly scented rice dishes made both vegetarian and with meats.
No trip to Maharaja would be complete without a selection of breads, including various naans and rotis. Our favorite was the garlic naan, which had an exceptional garlic blast with each bite. We are also fond of the extra buttery paranthas. If you by chance saved room for desserts you will enjoy one of the many offered at Maharaja including the rice pudding or the gulab jamun which are tiny pastry balls doused in rose water scented honey. A perfect ending to your meal.
Maharaja offers a full line of catering and can do very traditional Indian evenings replete with entertainment ala Bollywood. They are also BYOB and offer a luncheon buffet.