Naturally, we didn't go hard core. We'd ordered tandoori chicken; Varanasi aloo, cheese, almond, and raisin-stuffed boiled potatoes in a fabulous creamy fennel-flecked tomato sauce; baigan bartha, mashed eggplant and peas in a spiced tomato sauce; cucumber raita, the traditional yogurt relish; and Kashmiri naan, a soft, pillowy flat bread dusted with coconut and stuffed with nuts and mango chutney. Assured we had specified mild heat levels, and always willing to give most anything a try, Mom tasted the vegetable curries, and then, nodding, seriously tucked in. The three of us polished off that lunch--probably a bit more than any of us needed--without any hesitation or struggle.
I'd also ordered takeout for an earlier dinner with friends. We tried many of the "classics"--tandoori chicken, even moister and more flavorful than at Mom's lunch; a goat biryani, nicely spiced and aromatic, with tender meat and fluffy rice; rogan josh, the lamb succulent in its earthy brick-red yogurt sauce; Kerala shrimp curry, the coconut sauce tasty if not extraordinary; and a basket of assorted, freshly baked breads, each disc wonderfully distinct from the other. All of us, novice and experienced alike, found Cardamom's take on these standards particularly well done, a notch or two above what many restaurants offer.