Passage to India
Overlooking the flow of the Susquehanna River, just off Front Street on the edge of Shipoke, sits a culinary conduit to unique and delicious flavors from half-a-world away. And midstate restaurant-goers looking for a taste of the South-Asian subcontinent know well to search no further than Passage to India.
Inside the eatery first opened 24 years ago by husband and wife Vishnu and Leena Shenoy, a strikingly ornate and colorful decor couples with a welcoming atmosphere and the mouth-watering aromas of Indian cuisine.
For those uninitiated to the tasty delights of Indian cuisine, Leena urges potential patrons to shake off any preconceptions that the food is all about spiciness.
“The thing people always think is that Indian food is too spicy,” she says. “There are items that are really hot, but they are indicated on the menu. …We serve food from the northern part of India. We specialize in Mughlai food, which is very rich. Northern Indian food is milder than the southern cuisine. We do also have a few dishes from southern India and from Goa.”
It is obvious that Leena is proud of what Passage to India has accomplished over the near quarter-century, and she credits the patrons of her establishment.
“We would like to thank the people of Central Pa.,” she says, “because, without their support, I don’t think we could have pulled it off, being here for 24 years. Their support, love – it makes us stronger day by day.”
Top 3 Must-Sample Appetizers
1. Coconut Garlic Shrimp: Shrimp cooked in coconut garlic sauce.
2. Spinach Chaat: Crispy-fried spinach served with sweet and tangy chutney.
3. Paneer Tikka: Homemade cheese cubes marinated in yogurt and spices cooked in a clay oven with bell peppers and onion.
Top 3 Must-Try Entrées
1. Paneer Pasanda: Homemade Indian cottage cheese cooked in special sauce with a touch of almonds and cashew nuts.
2. Chicken Tikka Masala: Marinated pieces of chicken cooked in tandoori and then covered in a creamy tomato sauce with onions, bell peppers, fresh herbs and spices.
3. Lamb Rogun Josh: Lamb marinated with aromatic herbs and spices in yogurt then simmered in its own juice with tomato, onion, ginger, garlic and cilantro.
Top 3 Must-Order Tandoori Dishes
1. Tandoori Chicken: Half a spring chicken marinated in yogurt, ginger, garlic, lemon juice and fresh spices, barbecued in a clay oven.
2. Chicken Haryali: Pieces of chicken marinated in a ginger-garlic paste with cream cheese, mint, cilantro and spices, then broiled in a clay oven.
3. Tandoori Shrimp: Extra jumbo shrimp lightly seasoned and broiled in a tandoori.
Passage to India (520 Race Street, Harrisburg) is open for lunch Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.; for dinner Monday through Saturday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call (717) 233-1202 or visit passagetoindiaharrisburgpa.com.