Nearly every lover of ethnic food -- and the uninitiated friends we drag along -- has fallen in love with Indian cuisine. Just walking into House of India and getting a whiff of the pungent spices cause the nostrils to flare and the mouth to water in anticipatory delight. The aroma of garam masala
, with its marriage of cumin, cardamom, coriander, cloves, fennel, pepper and nutmeg, permeates the room as you're quickly escorted to your table. Of course, you'll want the chicken done tandoori style. If you want to impress your date, explain how tandoori cooking (over charcoal in a clay-lined oven) and the marinade of yogurt, lemon, ginger and turmeric is really a holdover from the Moguls of northern India. Or just shut up before your companion's eyes glaze over and enjoy the spicy-crunchy pappadam
, the excellent chicken tikka masala
, sag paneer
and vegetable korma
. The rice-and-roasted-meat (or vegetable) biryani
-- five versions, no less -- isn't overspiced, allowing everything to coexist in harmony. Bonus: The lunch buffet alone is worth the visit.