chef rameshStarting this weekend, from Thursday, October 3rd through Sunday, November 3rd, opening Thursdayinterior through Sunday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., The Bizcaya Restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, has been transformed into a slice of India swathed in glittering flowing curtains, upside down iridescent bright blue, green and gold umbrellas, cithara players, an ongoing Bollywood stream of images and films, servers clad in Indian saris and garb and, of course, Indian food. 

This is where executive chef Ramesh Kaduru comes into action throughout the month-long “Passage to India: An Authentic Indian Pop-Up Restaurant” inspired by the flavors of his native Chennai (formerly Madras) in southeastern India.                                                      

A menu of over 30 Indian specialties starting with crispy papadam (Indian bread), delicious samosas (Indian empanadas) and chutneys, refreshing lassies and a jolting puri shooter – a hollowed pastry in which you pour the shooter before popping it into your mouth – continues with salads like roasted red and golden beets with paneer cream over greens in a citrus vinaigrette. What follows is a list of mouthwatering vegetarian, meat and seafood entrées ($14-$27) like Vegetable Biryani (rice layered with vegetables), stews, curries and classics like Goan-style masala shrimp, Mughali and tandoori chicken, Masala Dosa and Dal Makhani, among other options available.

dinner biryani chickpeaIndian food is extremely complex due to the myriad spices that compose the fragrant dishes. As a result wineramesh victorpairing is a challenge. To meet that challenge chef Ramesh Kaduru appealed to wine expert Victor Passalacqua of ByWines.  “We deconstructed every dish and tasted a lot of wines until we came up with a choice of wines that enhances chef Ramesh’s cuisine,” said Mr. Passalacqua. His selections include whites ranging from Finca La Estacada Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc blend from Uclés in Castilla La Mancha, Spain, to Secua Chardonnay Late Harvest from Finca La Estacada,  Uclés, Castilla La Mancha. For the reds: the lively 100% garnacha from Bodegas Ruberte in Spain accompanies the sturdier stews to perfection and the French Demoiselle de by Medoc cleanses the palate after fried samosas and spicy tandoori chicken.

puri and shot

On Saturday Octobre 12, from 4 to 6 p.m., Chef Kaduru will give an Indian cooking demonstration with tastings for 15 guests.  Cost is $35 plus tax and gratuity. Call 305-644-4675 to book a spot or make dinner reservations.

Festivities of Diwali, or “festival of lights”, will illuminate the restaurant on the last day of the month long restaurant in celebration of one of India’s most important holidays.

Bizcaya at The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, 3300 Southwest 27th Avenue, Coconut Grove, FL. Reservations: (305) 644-4675.