Saturday, April 20, 2024 Apr 20, 2024
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Restaurant Reviews

Sanjh Invites You to Splurge On Indian Fare

Highly anticipated Sanjh fills a delicious void of Indian fine dining in Las Colinas.
Fish roast at Sanjh. Samantha Marie Photography

Dallas-Fort Worth is home to about 220,000 Indian Americans. Irving and Las Colinas have especially large populations, which has attracted dozens of shops, restaurants, and grocers. Most of those restaurants trend casual, which is why Sanjh’s arrival is so exciting.

Sanjh was described in press releases as serving “elevated” Indian cuisine that draws inspiration from all regions of the South Asian country. We named it one of the restaurants we were most looking forward to this year. It finally opened last month in Las Colinas, in the lakes and restaurant development east of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Sanjh is certainly elevated and flashy. The food leans tame, but is often interesting enough to attract diners of all kinds.

Its menu pulls from all parts of India. From the north, there are soupy, curry-based dishes like paneer mahkani and methi chaman. From the south, the menu includes stuffed dosa crepes and seafood dishes such as the roasted red snapper tightly bundled in plantain leaves. Even sweet potato chaat, a popular street food found all over India, gets a fancy spin at Sanjh.

The restaurant leans into opulence. Gold panels are hammered into the ceiling, which are illuminated by rectangular LED lights that bathe the dining room in a soft light. The middle of the restaurant features four half-circle booths surrounding a faux tree draped with gold leaves. The marble-like bar glows yellow. Sanjh was designed to ooze elegance.

Presentation is everything here. Samosas are typically served with mint and tamarind chutneys for dipping. At Sanjh, the aloo samosas, stuffed with potatoes, raisins, and cashews, come topped with tiny mint and tamarind pearls that look like caviar. The sweet potato chaat (called shakargandi chaat on the menu) arrives with a glass dome filled with smoke. Our server drew tiny circles as she lifted the dome to swirl the smoke over the plate. (The dish didn’t need the flair.) The chaat is made with seasoned sweet potato chunks and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds to lift the heavy spices. The menu says it comes with starfruit, which were absent from our plate.

The paneer makhani most closely resembles paneer butter masala, just slightly sweeter with muted spice. The sauce base is made with tomatoes, cashew cream, Kashmiri chile powder, dried fenugreek leaves, and butter that’s been simmered until velvety and turns a rich burnt orange color. Massive grilled blocks of house-made paneer stuffed with nuts and fruits soak up the sauce and pair well with freshly baked garlic naan from the kitchen’s tandoors, the Indian charcoal-fired ovens.

The fish roast is one of five seafood dishes on the menu, and it was one of our favorites. (You’ll also find meat and poultry dishes on the menu, but most of its offerings are appropriate for vegetarian diets.) Unwrapping the banana leaf revealed a perfectly cooked, flaky red snapper filet. The fish sits inside the banana leaf as it’s griddled. The wrapper traps the steam and allows the fish to soak up the marinade of shallots, tomatoes, curry leaves, and coconut oil.  

The signature meat curry with goat is based on a mutton curry made at chef Balpreet Singh Chadha’s home. Goat meat simmers in a base of red onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, curd, and curry spices, but the flavors didn’t come through as strongly as I expected. Mutton is notoriously gamey, but Chadha uses the more mild baby goat.

What I craved from the curry was the wonderfully unapologetic Indian cooking practices and flavors I saw throughout the restaurant. At every table, diners eat with their hands. The tandoors—charcoal-fired ovens used for cooking breads and kebabs—are displayed behind a glass wall next to the kitchen, allowing diners to watch as bakers slap balls of dough against their sides to produce fluffy charred naan.

Even the drinks, which should not be skipped, are full of Indian flavors. Director of mixology Yangdup Lama curated a list of cocktails and mocktails that burst with spices. The Jaam E Aam, for example, features gin, roasted cumin liqueur, and mango juice. It also uses kala namak, an Indian black salt found in parts of northern India. It’s pungent, but so traditionally and delightfully Indian. Just wafting the drink sent a flurry of aromatics through my system: “That’s an Indian drink,” one of my dinner companions said.

Most items on the menu are sharable, from salads to mains to desserts. You’ll also pay for it. One order of plain naan, which is a stretch to feed two people, is priced at $7. Main dishes start at $22 and run up to $45 each. Portions are small—our goat curry came with three chunks of meat despite being at the higher end of the menu. Desserts, too, are a cool $25 each. Expect to spend.

The service, though, is excellent. Servers are eager to answer any questions about the menu, and we had many. When we walked into the restaurant, we were initially seated right in front of the door. Our server gave us the option to move closer to the kitchen because it was a cold night.

Sanjh isn’t going to replace the excellent Indian restaurants we have in D-FW. It fills a void for Indian fine dining, and it’s meant to appeal to a broader audience. That’s clear in the salad options (kale salad and “Indian caprese”) and the signature curry that lacks a certain punch.

The restaurant seems to be designed to draw in a specific diner, one who wants to impress—or be impressed by—with opulence and a wide sampling of Indian food. For that, Sanjh is certainly the right destination.


Nataly Keomoungkhoun

Nataly Keomoungkhoun

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Nataly Keomoungkhoun joined D Magazine as the online dining editor in 2022. She previously worked at the Dallas Morning News,…

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