CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. — Friends, supporters, diners and local dignitaries joined together Monday to officially cut the ribbon and celebrate the opening of the town’s latest restaurant, Spice Malabar.
The restaurant at 7 Southside Drive in the Shops at Village Plaza had a soft opening in March preferring to delay a formal opening for warmer weather.
Now that people are getting the vaccinations in droves and the weather has indeed finally warmed the restaurant’s partners agreed the time was right for the formal opening.
After receiving warm welcomes and best wishes from Sen. Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, and Town Supervisor Philip Barrett the ribbon was cut and a group of around 30 people quickly moved inside the restaurant to sample a buffet of delicacies. The two-hour opening buffet saw a constant line of well-wishers who sampled plates of the kitchen’s delicacies.
The team behind Spice Malabar is the same as that behind the popular Indian restaurant in Latham, Karavalli. As with that restaurant, they want to bring the flavors of North and South India cuisine up the Northway to Clifton Park.
“We have a lot of customers from Clifton Park that come to our Latham restaurant and they kept asking if we had a place in Clifton Park,” said executive chef and partner Vice George. “We know it’s a growing town so we said let’s look around. We found this spot to be available and we liked its location and the space itself.”
The dining area is a mix of individual tables and tables with banquets for seating on one side with chairs on the other. Though there are partial dividers in the large room, the restaurant has an open feel to it that allows for either a private dining experience or one with a more communal feel depending on the customer’s wishes.
Asked to name the most requested dish since the March opening George said it was masala dosa.
“It’s a crepe made of rice and lentils filled with potatoes and green peas,” he said. “It’s vegan and gluten-free. In fact, we have a whole page of the menu that’s specialized for vegan.”
A lot of the menu is gluten free also.
George said the rack of lamb with a choice of sauces (no sauce, Malabar sauce, or chettinadu sauce) and fish or shrimp in banana leaves were close behind the masala dosa in customer requests.
The dinner menu consists of appetizers, tandoori specialties, vegetarian, chicken, game, and seafood. A tasting menu comprised of authentic Indian delicacies paired with vegetable biriyani, garlic naan and tandoori broccoli is a way to explore the special flavors of the kitchen.
Classic signatures such as mango curry, chettinadu and pepper fry dishes are also available.
At Monday’s formal opening guests began the buffet with appetizer plates filled with condiments like mango chutney, lemon pickle, chickpeas, onion chutney, tamarind chutney, coconut chutney, mint chutney, and raita; a mix of yogurt and vegetables.
From there they moved on to a selection of vegetable pulav (aromatic basmati rice, herbs and vegetables), paneer tikka (paneer, colored pepper and red onion grilled in tandoor), mushroom palak (spinach and mushroom in creamy sauce and spices), sautéed vegetables (a mélange of vegetables and Indian spices), Kerala roasted shrimp (shrimp cooked with spices, coconut and curry leaves), Chana masala (chickpeas, tomatoes, spices and fresh coriander leaves).
Those dishes were followed by large pans of lamb Malabar (lamb cooked with Malabar spices, cashew, green chilli and cilantro) chicken tikka masala (chicken tikka in mild tomato and cream sauce), and Tandoori medley (a mélange of kababs from Tandoor).
“This is home-style cooking,” George said. “It’s cooking from grandmother’s recipes.”
Spice Malabar has lunch hours and dinner hours Tuesday through Sunday. A Lunch Box to Go may be ordered also for vegetarian, chicken or lamb. The restaurant is closed Mondays.