An unexpected, uncompromising trailblazer has emerged in Lone Tree. From texturally complex salads to beautifully presented butter chicken and house-made ice cream — Urban Village truly belongs in a category of its own. First, in order to fully embrace this new concept, one must disregard the idea of “curry,” customizable spice and all-you-can-eat buffets. According to executive chef Charles “Charlie” Mani — considering “curry” a definitive category for Indian dishes is merely a misunderstood western trend. Similarly, adjusting the level of spice in a recipe or letting food sit in a sad, preheated, self-serve situation is a misrepresentation of the complex cookery involved in producing Indian cuisine. When Mani and owner Ramesh Madakasira joined forces to bring Urban Village to life, they approached this distinctive project with a shared desire to refine the experience and flavor profiles typically associated with Indian dining.
In essence, two-month-old Urban Village tastefully marries traditional and contemporary flavors in an environment teeming with charm. “We’re bringing the Indian street food we love to the table in a fine dining way,” said Mani. “A lot of people think of Indian food as spicy and heavy with a lot of cream. I want to change that perception with my food. We spend hours developing the spices and layering flavors in a delicious and light way. I hope that once people taste this menu they’ll think of Urban Village’s style of Indian as a cuisine they feel good coming back to again and again.” Furthermore, What guests may expect from this new restaurant is an inviting, rustic aesthetic, seasonal menu and elevated experience — not to mention the delightfully pungent aroma which could make one salivate from the parking lot.
Within the walls of Urban Village, diners may discover ingenious appetizers such as the addictive urban cauliflower ($9) with tomato chili sauce or kale moong dal chaat ($8) with crispy kale, sprouted lentils, tamarind, mint, cilantro puree and roasted cumin yogurt. Additionally, tandoori chicken ($15), basil lamb chops ($17) and not your grandma’s butter paneer ($15) shall delight the palates of carnivores and vegetarians alike. To enjoy the full spectrum of Mani’s intricately flavorful fare, indecisive and adventurous diners may opt for the chef’s tasting menu ($39) highlighting a selection of popular appetizers, meat and vegetable dishes served with freshly baked naan. Lunchtime offerings include innovative handheld Urban rolls with fillings such as lamb kabab ($9) or paneer ($8) and Village Bowls with a choice of rice, curry and vegetable. Alas — Mani’s delightful house-made cardamom pistachio kulfi ($5) is a compulsory frozen treat to conclude any meal.
Mani and Madakasira — who both hail from towns in southern India — recognized the need to create a consolidated menu while prioritizing hospitality within Indian restaurants in America. After gaining critical acclaim working at New York City restaurants Babu Ji and Badshah, Mani brought his palpable respect for cooking methods, culture and community to an unassuming Colorado suburb. The self-professed workaholic who originally came to America with $100 to his name has navigated through the restaurant industry with an impressive amount of vitality. Not only does Mani recognize the importance of sharing Indian food with integrity and authenticity — the charismatic chef also emphasizes the importance of spreading his values to improve workplace culture. Ultimately — upon visiting Urban VIllage, it is evident that Mani approaches his culinary artistry and exceptional sense of hospitality with the same piquant, playful quality. “If you want to come in for a good time, that will not happen. You are going to have a great time, ” said Mani.
Urban Village is located at 9234 Park Meadows Dr, Suite 700, Lone Tree