If you love Indian food, the offerings at the new restaurant Mother India Cuisine should feel like home. But if you’re new to Indian food, they want to ease you in slowly.
While many Indian restaurants in the region offer a lunch buffet, the new Ceres eatery offers a daily lunch special that gives diners a sampling of two of the most popular Indian curries plus rice, yogurt, naan and a dessert all on one plate. The deal, which runs $7.99, even comes in a retro metal tray.
This is the first restaurant for husband-and-wife owners Sukhvir Singh and Tajinder Kaur, who both immigrated to the United States from the Punjab region of India. Singh worked for a decade as a chef for an Indian restaurant in Glasgow, Scotland, before coming to California five years ago.
Mother India Cuisine, on Mitchell Road next to the also new Fired Up Grill & Meal Prep, opened in late October. The small space, which was previously a pizza shop, seats about 20. The no-frills restaurant offers take-out and dine-in, and is also available for catering.
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The daily lunch special comes with two kinds of curry — typically a vegetarian and a meat option — and is available until 2 p.m. throughout the week. For those who want to branch out, the menu offers a wide selection of Indian dishes from various regions. They range from the popular rice-based biryani options ($1.99 to $9.99) to tandoori dishes ($9.99 to $14.99), a large vegetarian selection ($6.99 to $7.99) and other entrees featuring chicken, shrimp, fish, lamb and goat ($8.99 to $10.99).
For spice lovers, the fresh-made and rolled-to-order garlic chili naan is not to be missed — just pace yourself on the spice levels for the rest of your food because it has a cumulative effect. Also, it’s probably best to not go to a job interview or first date after consuming some of the delicious, garlicky flatbread.
Still, if you’ve got some less adventurous eaters in the group, Mother India wants to help them out, too. The restaurant offers chicken or veggie wraps and sandwiches, as well as pasta dishes, chicken or vegetarian burgers, fish and chips and even chicken nuggets. Just don’t expect any beef dishes as cows are sacred for many in the Indian culture.
Kaur said it’s that difference, offering some American favorites alongside Indian classics, that helps set them apart from other Indian restaurants in the area. And they should know, because right across the street on Mitchell is the larger and more formal Sunlight Indian Cuisine.
Mother India Cuisine is open 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Wednesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Closed Tuesday. For more information, call 209-566-8020 or visit www.facebook.com/MotherIndiaCuisine.
Elsewhere on the Business Beat:
Two new restaurants are coming to two busy Modesto shopping centers.
At McHenry Village, signs have gone up for the new Poke Mi! restaurant. The space, next to Jenny Craig and across from the Chicken Barn, is being worked on now. Poke is a traditional Hawaiian dish made of cubed raw fish or seafood.
Speaking of Hawaiian food, the Walmart shopping center on Plaza Parkway is getting an Ono Hawaiian BBQ. This will be the chain’s first restaurant in Modesto; the company has another location in Turlock in Monte Vista Crossings. The standalone restaurant is moving into the old Taco Bell location, which has undergone extensive renovations.
Marijke Rowland: 209-578-2284, @marijkerowland