‘One of My Best Ventures Yet’: Chef Prasad Returns With ‘India’

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Since the closing of Thali last November, Chef Prasad Chirnomula has fielded the same question from loyal fans countless times…“When will you be back?”

The answer to that question can finally be announced with certainty.

Following a six-week renovation of the space at 62 Main Street that formerly housed Boulevard 18—right down the street from his old restaurant—Chirnomula is ready to open the doors of his newest venture ‘India’ on Monday, April 4.

“I’m super-excited,” Chirnomula told NewCanaanite.com at a special preview party for the restaurant on Sunday. “I love New Canaan. I’ve been here so long and everybody’s knocking on the door, asking ‘when are you opening?’ We did a good job—in six weeks we turned the place around. The tough part is getting the right help in here so we’ve got some great staff now.”

Diners familiar with the cuisine at Thali—which for 16 years was one of New Canaan’s most popular restaurants—will be pleased to find many familiar, classic dishes at ‘India’ that helped build and Chirnomula’s reputation in the area (he owns four additional restaurants in Fairfield and New Haven counties). Items such as Tandoori Chicken ($19), Lamb Boti ($21), and various meats accompanied by savory sauces such as Tikka Masala and Vindaloo will be on what Chirnomula calls the “right-side of the menu.”

The “left-side” of the menu will be reserved for Chirnomula’s personal touches—signature dishes such as Turmeric and Spice Marinated Fish ($28), Belize King Prawns ($28) and Pan Gilled Rack of Lamb ($35), showcasing the chef’s talent and innovation.

Patrons can also choose from a variety of small plates, which can be mixed, matched and shared, giving diners a broader scope of the cuisine at ‘India’. These items range from Steamed Nepalese Momos ($8)—chicken dumplings with citrus garlic chili oil—to Tandoor Grilled Chicken Kababs ($17).

“I’m putting in about 25 of those, and they can actually make a good meal,” Chirnomula said. “You don’t have to have a whole meal by itself.”

The menu also features various charcoal-fired breads such as naan and parantha ($3-$5), as well as a Tandoori Chicken Club sandwich ($14) and a Spicy Chicken Burger ($12) that has already drawn rave reviews from a private party held in the restaurant this past weekend. The restaurant will focus on utilizing locally-sourced, organic ingredients for most of its dishes.

The dining room retains the intimacy of its former owners, and Chirnomula added some touches to bring out an intimate and romantic ambience including red banquettes, low lighting and sheer black curtains.

The bar is the same zinc masterpiece from Boulevard 18 and will feature customized cocktails created by visiting Mixology Professor Jessica Spector. India will also continue to spotlight Chirnomula’s appreciation for fine wine as the list will include dozens of domestic and international vintages. The beer list at India is voluminous and gives a nod to local breweries such Two Roads and Black Hog.

India will also offer al fresco dining on the handsome patio that sits behind the property’s white picket fence. The restaurant will also have delivery, takeout and curbside service.

The only question that remains unanswered is, who is more amped about the opening of ‘India’…New Canaanites or Chef Prasad?

“We have a wonderful bar, great dining room, great kitchen,” Chirnomula said. ‘This is probably one of my best ventures yet. It’s exciting.”

‘India’ will be open for dinner only this week and will offer lunch and dinner seven days a week starting April 11th.

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