When I think of Indian cuisine, a particular dish is not what comes to mind. Rather, it is the spice rack. It is cumin, coriander, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, fenugreek, mustard seeds, tamarind, turmeric, saffron. It is whole, dry spices, pan-toasted or wet-fried to draw out their complexity, with the added bonus that they fill the kitchen with a heady fragrance.
The first thing I noticed upon setting foot inside new Inman Park restaurant Amara was that the aroma of an Indian kitchen did not permeate the air. And, while the Indian food-lover and Penzeys Spice buyer in me would wish to be greeted at Amara with intoxicating smells of spices and herbs, Amara is not really an Indian restaurant. Or, more accurately, it’s not only an Indian restaurant.