Bukhara Indian Bistro coming soon to Minnetonka

Joginder Cheema, former owner of the Taste of India and India Palace restaurant empires and current owner of three India House restaurants in St. Paul, Fridley, and downtown Minneapolis (India Express), is bringing Bukhara Indian Bistro to the former home of Istanbul Bistro.

The strip-mall space, on Wayzata Boulevard, just west of 494 in Minnetonka, is undergoing a minor remodel and should reopen in late August or early September. The Hot Dish talked to Samson Palkar, Cheema's junior partner and assistant chef, to find out what to expect.

Palkar says the restaurant will serve north Indian Mughal food, which was influenced by its proximity to China/Iran trade routes and features a lot of meat and spice blends. "In regions where the Mughal came from, they used to do a lot of meat, lentils, and chickpeas," Palkar says. "When the British invaded, much of that style was lost with the dispersal." Expect to see a small, focused menu with classics like chicken curry, sag paneer, Pakistani butter chicken, plus several types of kebabs.

Palkar says the kebabs will have spices rubbed into the meat instead of marinating them, and the skewers will be cooked in a tandoori oven, a technique they've found to make the meat more flavorful and succulent. "All the Indian food in the Twin Cities pretty much has the same taste," Palkar says. "[Cheema] is coming up with new recipes."

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