Pyaar, 9350 W. Sahara Ave., opened in June and distinguishes itself by specializing in what other Indian restaurants in town ignore.
While some of the familiar northern Indian dishes popular with Americans are here, Pyaar flies south for flavorfully charged local favorites such as idli-vada sambar, upma and masala dosa. And the house specialty is Moghul, the cuisine of India’s Muslim-dominated Hyderabad state.
“Besides all the spices, there’s always an essence flavor in Moghul cooking,” says Pyaar general manager Harold Lyke, citing jasmine essence as an example. “You won’t feel the taste of essence, but you will say, ‘Oh man, this is something different.’ “
Also represented on the menu — prepared by executive chef Leodan Baputista (Gaylord’s, India Oven) — is India’s unique take on Chinese dishes such as fried rice and pan-fried noodles.
“The flavors are more heavy, mixed up with a lot of Indian spices,” Lyke says. “India is better than any place to eat Chinese food.”
Everything on Pyaar’s menu is spiced according to taste.
Live music also is known to break out, whenever Lyke and his keyboard execute impressions of Louis Armstrong and Sammy Davis Jr.
“I talk like an Indian but I sing like an American,” Lyke says.
The traditionally decorated restaurant — which seats 75 — is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Reservations are not required.
Signature dish: Chicken Hyderabadi biryani, $10.99
Soups and salads: Mulligatawny soup, $5.50; dal soup, $4.50; grilled shrimp salad, $10.50
Entrees: Chicken tikka masala, $10.99; Indian Chinese-style ginger fish, $14.99; South Indian fish/shrimp coconut curry, $12.99
Desserts: Dhodi halwa, $3.25; double ka meeta, $2.99; rasmalai, $3.99
BY COREY LEVITAN