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Vinay Kotak is the owner of Maharaja Jewelers on Hillcroft, but he has always had a passion for food, so when his brother-in-law, Amar Dholakia, decided to change careers, they got together and opened Mantra Fine Indian Cuisine (15295 Southwest Fwy., 281-325-0071). "I was in IT, in the engineering field, but they were beginning to lay off people, so before that happened to me, I decided to make a change," says Dholakia. "We wanted a place that had fine Indian cuisine, excellent service and an elegant decor, a place where, when you came in, you would feel like you wanted to hang around, not just eat and run."
Mantra serves northern Indian cuisine in a gorgeous atmosphere. They also have a nice outdoor patio with a hookah bar. "We serve dishes that you can't find in other Indian restaurants, like our popular mango chicken, rack of lamb or corn masala for our vegetarian customers," says Dholakia. Mantra has two chefs, each with a ton of experience, including one Dholakia describes as a "tandoori specialist."
Mantra Fine Indian Cuisine
When Mantra had been open only a week or two, Dish visited and found quite a crowd. We thoroughly enjoyed the Vegetarian Dinner for Two — a samosa, a comforting mulligatawny soup and four small dishes of saag paneer, daal (lentils), navratan korma (mixed vegetables) and mantra aloo (potatoes). Basmati rice and simple naan were the perfect accompaniments, and the sweet finish was a delicious rice pudding topped with ground pistachios. This feast set us back only $39.95. We'll be back for the lunch buffet.
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