Tikka Tikka Boom
Southlake's newest Indian restaurant favors fresh over obvious
With limited options for Indian food in Southlake, it's welcome news that OM Indian Grill will open in mid-September at 2001 W. Southlake Blvd., in a space formerly occupied by a branch of Benny's Bagels. OM is a family-run restaurant from chef-owner Laxmi Tukkem that will serve classic dishes such as tikka masala and lamb vindaloo, but with a hyper-focus on freshness.
Tukkem started OM as a catering business and built up such a strong following that it propelled her to expand to a bricks and mortar spot. She's doing dishes from both Northern and Southern India, using techniques from royal Nawab and Moghul kitchens, but that also duplicate what she grew up with.
"My mom used to make chicken, lamb, and baby goat," Tukkem says. "And seafood was important. My home town is on the seashore so we used to eat fresh seafood every single day. My dad and uncle would bring home fresh fish, and my grandmom is a very good cook who would cook up the fresh seafood, using country-style recipes. This is the kind of spirit I try to recreate."
OM will utilize a traditional Indian tandoor oven but also a charcoal grill, cooking meats and seafood until tender, then incorporating them in house-made curries and other sauces. In addition to classics like chicken tikka masala and spinach paneer, they will also offer nontraditional options such as shrimp kebabs and grilled scallops and vegetables. "I feel like my quality and presentation are unique," she says.
Freshness is her top priority. That means she won't be doing a buffet, the unfortunate crutch that many ethnic restaurants in DFW must resort to in order to get cautious diners to try a new cuisine.
"But people have said they want to come for dinner," she says. "I would like to give everyone fresh food. That's the feedback I've received from family and friends — they say, 'Oh wow, this is a different kind of food you are making.'"