Liz Balmaseda, Palm Beach Post (Aug.27, 2022) – The highly anticipated, classic Indian restaurant by Stage Kitchen chef Pushkar Marathe, opens Tuesday in Palm Beach Gardens.
One might say the Ela Curry Kitchen concept has been a sensation even before its debut. When Marathe announced preview pop-ups featuring Ela’s menu at Stage in recent weeks, the events sold out within hours.
Some cool things to know about Ela:
- The inspiration.Named after the Sanskrit word for cardamom, Ela is an ode to Marathe’s travels throughout his native India. The son of an Indian Air Force radar technician, Marathe explored his homeland’s diverse mix of cultures and flavors as his family moved to new bases in new states. He draws inspiration from those years as well as from his time in college and his visits to neighborhoods and homes that were strikingly different from his family’s Hindu, vegetarian household.
“What I learned is that the true Indian food lies within the households of India,” Marathe says. “What I’m doing is taking inspiration from the food I learned by eating at my neighbors’, friends’ and family’s houses. This is my interpretation of the food I loved as I traveled throughout the country.”
- The food. The menu lists Indian street snacks (“chaat”), nine types of curry dishes, various “not curry” dishes, breads, rice dishes, chutneys and other condiments, plus a thali-style tasting menu. That tasting menu features the traditional thali fashion, in which dinner courses are presented as multiple components on a large serving plate. While most entrees are served thali style, the special tasting menu is an option that’s offered for the entire table for $65 per person.
Menu highlights include lentil fritters with yogurt, tamarind chutney and crispy sev noodles (dahi vada), Kerala beef short rib with curry leaves, star anise and coconut oil, masala lamb chops with tamarind, goda masala, cashews, raisins and chives, tandoori chicken with cilantro chutney, mint and red onion, and desserts such as karanji pastry stuffed with coconut, mango, jaggery and ghee.
- The space. Marathe and his Stage business partner, Andy Dugard (former general manager at Buccan Palm Beach), transformed the original Coolinary Café location at The Shops of Donald Ross Village plaza in northern Palm Beach Gardens.
That space had become available when chef Tim Lipman merged his acclaimed café with his bar, The Parched Pig, to create a larger restaurant simply called Coolinary.
The Ela partners and interior designer Anna Woodman gave the space a look that’s both regal and relaxed. Terrazzo dining tables and black cane chairs are set by a beautifully textured accent wall that’s done in smoky blue-gray with shimmering gold touches.
The intimate space offers seating for 28 at the indoor tables, 15 at the indoor bar/counter and a dozen or more at Ela’s sidewalk tables.
Location: 4650 Donald Ross Road, Suite 110 in the The Shops of Donald Ross Village, Palm Beach Gardens, 561-345-2196, ElaCurryKitchen.com
Hours: Ela opens at 4 p.m. Tuesday (Aug. 30) and will serve dinner Tuesdays through Sundays from 4 to 9 p.m. Lunch service is planned for fall.
Reservations: They’re strongly encouraged and can be made via Ela’s website or by phone.
About Anna Woodman Interior Design
Anna Woodman Interior Design (formerly Anna Schmidt Interior Design) is a professional interior design firm with an exceptional reputation built over the years through the design of one-of-a-kind spaces and strong client relationships. Established in 2003 and based in Jupiter, Fla., the firm has worked extensively with nationwide brands, franchises and upscale independent restaurants throughout the country, as well as many corporate and commercial spaces. For more information, visit annawoodmaninteriordesign.com or call (407) 399-6808.