Dhaba Brings the Heat

Dhaba Brings the Heat
Sumanjit Singh and Amandeep Kaur (left) and the chicken tandoori

How well you can handle spicy Indian food may be predetermined based on where you live.

“For some reason, the west side is more into spicy food,” jokes Sumanjit Singh, owner of Dhaba Indian Bistro in Middleton. “When you cross Whitney Way, everyone likes spicy food.”

Singh married Amandeep Kaur in 2011, and the next year the couple opened Dhaba. However, the family’s restaurateur roots go back several years, with Indian buffets in several Wisconsin cities. Singh helped open and run his family’s Taste of India restaurant on Monroe Street in 2006.

With Dhaba, Singh broke with the buffet tradition. He believes it’s the state’s only sit-down Indian restaurant. “Everyone was like, ‘oh boy,'” he says of making the change. “But we wanted to be something different.”

Singh says some dishes—like malai kofta, a kind of fried vegetable dumpling—are not meant to be on a buffet. “Once it stays in the buffet for one hour, it’s not the same dish that you started with.”

So far, diners seem to love the locally sourced ingredients and fresh dishes. Try the spinach paneer cooked with ginger, garlic and homemade cheese. Other favorites include chicken tikka masala with roasted chicken in a cream and tomato sauce and any variety of naan, a fine flour bread baked in tandoor.

As for the spice, Singh says everything is made to order, and he often gives recommendations to folks based on their tastes.

Whether they like things hot or not.

8333 Greenway Blvd. #100, Middleton, 203-8822