Last year, Turmeric Flavors of India arose in a rather unlikely location in the City Center parking lot—not that CityCenter, but rather the City Center Motel across from Downtown Container Park. With its arrival, Downtowners and tourists can now partake in Indian cuisine along the Fremont East corridor.
This type of cuisine might not be at the forefront of your mind when hitting Downtown, but Turmeric is worth the visit. Start with chili paneer ($10), where wok-fried paneer cheese cubes are topped with a flavorful chili sauce laced with garlic. The wok time is well-spent, as the otherwise soft cheese firms up while hinting of smoke beneath the sharp sauce. Those concerned with spice levels shouldn’t be—this dish is more flavorful than hot; in fact, even dishes ordered spicy here tend to be pretty tame.
That general lack of heat doesn’t hurt a complex and robust chicken tikka masala ($18); you’ll want to sop up every last bit of the fiery orange sauce. Turmeric’s butter chicken ($18) is creamy and flavorful but nowhere near as impactful as its brethren. No matter which curry you choose, don’t pass on paneer-stuffed naan ($5), the ideal vehicle for soaking up any of the dishes.
Probably the most intriguing part of the menu is dedicated to South Indian specialties. Among them is the dosa ($13), a comically large rice-and-bean crepe stuffed with spicy mashed potatoes. It’s an uncommon dish on local Indian menus, and it’s accompanied here by sambhar (lentil stew) and a unique coconut chutney. Wash it down with a crisp Flying Horse Royal Lager from an off-menu, secret Indian beer stash and you’ve got yourself an authentic evening.
After dark, the vibe at Turmeric becomes a bit more unique, with dance music emanating from the rooftop Kama Nightclub while passersby linger in front of Container Park’s flame-spewing praying mantis. These are the makings of a scene. Do yourself a favor and sit in the open-air front bar area, where an older gentleman in a USMC T-shirt, powered by his own bottle of hooch, danced during our meal. Dinner and a show—what more could you want?
Turmeric Flavors of India 700 E. Fremont St., 702-906-2700. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.