Elettaria: Where Saag Paneer Is 'Saag Paneer'

Elettaria puts chefs onstage, plays with convention, and comes out ahead

The space inhabited by Elettaria was formerly the 8th Wonder, a club where Jimi Hendrix played. The spot where the stage used to be has been remade into the open kitchen.

One night, the only reservation available was for 6:30 (the place had been booked solid for the last couple weeks). The restaurant is quite loud once it fills up, but at that time, there were only a few other occupied tables; it was so quiet that I could hear the sizzle of mustard seeds hitting hot oil before the aroma floated out over the dining room.

They're stars, and they know it.
Frances M. Roberts
They're stars, and they know it.

As I watched Nawab and his motley band of good-looking chefs start the night's service, it occurred to me that this stagey setup finally makes the chef-into-rock-star transformation explicit. I sipped my mai tai with its perky sprig of mint and gave thanks that when chefs are stars, the drinks are worth drinking.

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