In India’s metropolis of New Delhi, there is a small area that locals call Delhi 6.
It’s where all the foodies go, said Urbana’s Seema Sharma, and the term is synonymous with the taste of authentic, epuciurian Indian cuisine.
“I grew up all my childhood eating that food, and it’s engrained in my mind,” Sharma said. “It’s a food-lover’s paradise… Our inspiration came from there.”
A true taste of Delhi 6 is what Sharma and her husband, Ajay Kasana, say they are bringing to Frederick County with their new restaurant, which they appropriately dubbed — Delhi 6. Part of Delhi 6 greets visitors as they enter the restaurant. A mural, painted by Frederick County’s Kristina McNaughton of Spirit Designs, covers one of the restaurant’s walls and depicts Lal Qila, a monumental fort in Delhi 6. McNaughton painted it in rich tones of orange and burnt browns, which sets the tone for the restaurant.
This restaurant, which opened on July 14, is their dream, the duo said. They were married in Delhi in April of 1999, then relocated that same year to Germantown. Six years ago, they settled in the Villages of Urbana — and since then, the couple said they’ve been hoping to open their own restaurant.
“I could not find something close,” Kasana said, explaining that he and his wife would travel to Gaithersburg or Rockville to eat at a fine-dining Indian restaurant.
So in May, Kasana and Sharma, who also own their own real estate brokerage, S4 Realty, purchased a 4,200-square-foot space in the Evergreen Shopping Center on Buckeystown Pike. They transformed what was formerly an Indian restaurant, Nilgiris, into a fine-dining facility with bright yellow walls, rich wood paneling and a mixture of traditional Indian light fixtures as well as modern, pendant lighting over the vast wooden bar. In addition, the duo developed a diverse menu, which includes dishes from mainly Northern Indian cuisine, but with a mixture of Southern Indian dishes, as well.
“The main factor that brings out the flavor in our food is that all of the spices are ground in-house,” Sharma said. “That adds the kick.”
From the main dining room, diners can watch the head chef, who has 15 years of experience in this field, cooking in the restaurant’s two tandoori ovens through a glass window. Sharma explained that the meat is placed on sikhs, long metal rods, that are then put in the tandooris. Indian breads are cooked fresh daily inside the clay ovens, as well.
Seven days a week, Delhi 6 offers a buffet of a variety of dishes to patrons. Monday through Friday, the buffet is offered from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and includes four to five vegetarian choices, sometimes with a dish that mixes carrots, peas and potatoes in a zesty tomato-and-onion based curry. Three chicken dishes are also offered daily, often including a local favorite — Chicken Makhani, which is a creamy dish with a light red sauce that’s bursting with flavorful spices and a spicy bite to it.
Speaking of spice, Sharma said newbies to Indian food carry a misconception about the cuisine.
“The misconception that all curries are spicy is wrong,” she said. “We make it mild.” She added that upon request, curries are made as spicy as desired.
Every weekend, Delhi 6 adds a seafood dish and goat curry to their buffet menu for brunch (Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Each buffet (even on weekdays) offers all-you-can-drink mango lassi, a creamy beverage that mixes yogurt and mango in a sweet-milkshake texture.
Delhi 6 received its liquor license on
Sept. 19 and now offers wine, mixed drinks and beers imported from India. The imported beer selection includes Kingfisher and Taj Mahal.
When leaving Delhi 6, diners should note the wall of colorful Indian bangle bracelets near the door — about 8,000 bracelets in all, Sharma said.
“I ordered them in batches,” she said with a laugh. “I put them up myself.” Sharma said the wall of bracelets is meant to harken diners again back to Delhi 6, where vendors line the street selling artisan goods, such as bangles.
Delhi 6 is located at 5732 Buckeystown Pike, Units 1-3, in Frederick. For more information, visit www.delhi6.us or call 301.698.9970.