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Experience The Tastes of India at The Rio

By R. H. Duke

Indian cuisine is exciting and possesses it’s own character, subtle tastes, blend of fresh warm spices, aromas, and exotic flavors. This is Gaylord at the Rio serving authentic Tandoori and Mughlai-style specialties. The award-winning restaurant came to Las Vegas via San Francisco, and Menlo Park, California where they have been serving loyal patrons since 1976.

A common misconception is that Indian cuisine is hot and spicy.  Spice is “life” in India and can best be defined as flavors, whether hot and pungent, or mild and pleasant, and Gaylord will accommodate without changing the character of the dish.

Frosted etched glass divides the dining rooms, and enhances the kitchen entry. Dark wood columns, decorative fabrics, and glistening candles set the mood to be enhanced by Indian accents, including hostess dressed in authentic Indian clothing.  Exotic music wafting throughout compliments the authentic ambiance.

Tantalizing offerings prepared by Executive Chef Ashwani Kumar (from the original Gaylord in New Delhi) has captured the palates of loyal aficionados for years. My favorite Shuruat (appetizer) is Chicken Chaat, a shredded chicken salad with pomegranate seed, black salt, and cumin spiced to my liking. Next to the Mulligatawny Soup a flavorful, yet delicately spiced chicken and lemon soup that refreshes and tempers the palate balancing the spicy appetizer. Then on to my favorite meat entrée, Seekh Kabab, minced lamb with a mix of onions, herbs, and spices, elongated on a skewer and perfectly grilled. The mixed spices and herbs give the ultimate flavor to meat, which otherwise would taste dull.

Space in this column does not permit the listing of numerous offerings. However, the tandoori, masala, curries, and Biryani dishes are outstanding, as is the Nan and the delicately flavored rice pudding.

If the extensive menu seems challenging, try one of the several 4-course combination dinners, or “royal feasts in the Indian manner”. This takes the guess- work out of ordering while introducing the uninitiated to some of the best sought after cuisine in the world.

In this critic’s opinion, none can compare to Gaylord for Indian cuisine.  The only Indian restaurant in a Vegas hotel, The Rio, adds excitement to the dining scene. Lunch special served daily.  Dinner nightly. Fabulous brunch buffet Sat & Sun. Reservations 702-7777-2277.

R.H. Duke is a former restaurateur and a Las Vegas restaurant critic who says “Fine Dining is one of Life’s Greatest Pleasures!”

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