For weekday lunches, in addition to lunch-portioned curries, entree salads, and wraps, the restaurant features thalis ("plates" in Hindi), which "are based on the Indian eating philosophy of consuming each of the five tastes (sour, bitter, sweet, salty, and pungent/spicy) in a single meal," according to a Cardamom news release. They include small portions of four different dishes, and soup, bread, Indian condiments, and dessert.
When Dhakal left his large family in Nepal at age nineteen, he planned to meet a friend in New York--but there was a misunderstanding. When he arrived, he discovered the friend was actually in California. So Dhakal embarked on the three-day cross-country trip on a Greyhound bus. "I come from a small country, so it was overwhelming," he smiles, "but exciting." He worked at a restaurant in Palm Springs for a couple years but missed being part of a larger Nepalese community and moved to Farmington Hills. He worked for Shalimar there until transferring to the Ann Arbor location. He met his wife, Becky Winkler-Dhakal, through the restaurant: she had traveled to India and frequented Shalimar to satisfy her food cravings. "It got to the point that I knew her regular takeout order, and we'd talk--and I finally asked her out."
Dhakal says he plans to apply for a liquor license and will also add Monday hours and online ordering via Facebook. For now, he says his focus is on "getting good food on the table with great service."