JXN’s Taste of India: Spice Avenue

Goat Biryani – goat cooked with long-grained basmati rice and saffron, flavored with mint and yogurt. Image: Spice Avenue

by Susan Marquez

When Deep Malhotra opened his restaurant, Spice Avenue, in 2008, he never dreamed it would be such a big hit with people from all cultures and walks of life. “We are proud that we have served the Jackson area for twelve years now,” he says.

The restaurant’s name suggests what is served: spicy, aromatic Indian foods prepared in the traditional methods used for generations. 

Favorites such as Chilli Paneer, Tikka Mala, Tandoori Prawns, Goat Vindaloo, Butter Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala, Tandoori Chicken and more fill the extensive menu. Several tandoori options, cooked in a unique cone-shaped clay pot, come out of the oven sizzling hot. 

For those who prefer not to eat meat, there is a wide range of vegetarian dishes offered. Using fresh vegetables, lentils and cottage cheese, vegetarian dishes include favorites such as Dal Tadka (yellow lentils with spices cooked in ginger, garlic and onion) and Malai Kofta (mixed vegetable dumplings, flavored with Indian spices and cooked in a tomato and onion sauce). 

While the restaurant was once popular for its extensive lunch spread, COVID-19 restrictions no longer allow for the buffet. The restaurant made a pivot to lunch specials served in-house or to-go from 10 am to 2:30 pm daily. Each day offers a special variety of dishes, served on a large platter known as “dahli.” Malhotra says there are both vegetarian and non-vegetarian offerings. 

The restaurant offers several traditional curries and rice dishes, and no meal is complete without naan, a traditional Indian bread that is lightly leavened and made with white flour. Kick it up a notch and order garlic naan, or try the Lacha Paratha/Aloo Paratha, a multi-layered whole wheat bread filled with potatoes.

The robust spices used in preparing Indian food are appealing to many. However, some people prefer less spicy options. The dishes can be made to order, using more or less spice to accommodate everyone’s taste buds. 

Beverages range from ice water served in copper mugs to tea and soft drinks. Regulars love the mango lassi, a yogurt beverage that balances the spices in the dishes. The restaurant also serves Indian beer and chai tea. There is a corkage fee for those who wish to bring their bottle. 

For dessert, be sure to try the Kheer, a delicious rice pudding served with nuts and raisins. Spice Avenue is open for lunch and dinner six days a week, for both dine-in and carryout. The restaurant is closed on Sundays. Spice Avenue is located on the I-55 North Frontage Road in Jackson, just north of Northside Drive. 

For more information, the full menu or to order online, visit their website, spiceavenuems.com.

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