Navin Hariprasad is a registered dietitian and the chef-owner of the hot new restaurant Spice in the City in downtown Dallas. Spice in the City is a take out and catering concept with a fresh, healthy take on Indian fusion cuisine. Thanks to his background in nutrition and as former Head of Patient Food Services at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Navin has successfully turned traditional ethnic Indian food into delicious and fresh, healthy, organic dishes that customers can get excited about and feel good about eating. Spice in the City uses as many organic ingredients as possible and has plenty of options that are vegetarian and vegan friendly, and they offer meal plans for those wanting to make healthy eating a priority but also want fast, fresh and tasty meals. Bonus: the kitchen at SITC scored an “A” from the health department!
As someone who’s always been intimidated by Indian food, I had never tried it before sampling a variety of dishes from Spice in the City. My main misconception was that everything was going to be too spicy for my wimpy palate and that everything was going to be covered in curry, which I think is common for people who have never had a variety of ethnic cuisines. But that was not the case at all! The flavors of each dish were uniquely flavorful and complex, but not overpowering with heat or curry. (Only one dish that I’ve had has actually used curry- the Curry Chicken Salad, which was amazing!) And the use of fresh herbs was the perfect touch that made everything dish pop!
Here’s a little Q&A with the man behind the magic at Spice in the City:
How long have you owned a restaurant?
NH: We opened February 16, 2015 (So a little over 6 months).
How did you get into the restaurant business?
NH: Passion to help introduce the Dallas population to ethnic cuisine that contained a lot of flavor but did not compromise health. [I] predominantly wanted to go into catering, however an opportunity came my way with a commercial kitchen downtown and I jumped on it. The to-go concept has been great for not only Indian food but to also introduce patrons to the cuisine so they can book us for catering.
What makes your cooking style unique?
NH: My mom is strict vegetarian so I got a lot of healthier inspiration from her growing up. I also have been able to train my cooking techniques based on dietary restrictions which gives me an advantage. I love making comfort foods healthier.
What is you favorite thing on your menu?
NH: Organic Tandoori Chicken Wings (Shown below!)
Do you have a signature dish?
NH: Organic Chicken Tikka Masala with Cashew and Raisin Pulao (Shown at top)
What is your favorite kitchen utensil?
NH: [I] love the melon ball scooper to make standardized gluten free cottage cheese pakoras (similar to hush puppies).
Any crazy stories from the kitchen?
NH: The kitchen before I took it over was a complete disaster. It took two deep cleanings to get the kitchen to where it is now and I am so proud of how we have maintained its integrity to make food consumption safe. I bring a lot of hospital standards to this kitchen and it shows. We scored an A on our health department inspection for Dallas County.
Sweet tooth or savory?
NH: I have a savory tooth actually that includes spicy. I try to eat lower sodium because I know it’s healthier but I’ve never had a big sweet tooth.
How do you like your eggs?
NH: Scrambled with a little mexican blended cheese and fresh pico de gallo or spicy salsa.
What can we expect from you in the future?
NH: We are growing so rapidly everyday is such an adventure. I hope that our meal plans continue to expand including outside of Dallas. I hope to get our spices and sauces into Whole Foods, Central Market, and Dean & Deluca. I also hope to write a cookbook and a biography about my past experiences and this adventure I’m on now.
For more info about Spice in the City and to find them in Dallas, visit spiceinthecitydallas.com. All pictures are courtesy of Spice in the City. A big thank you to Navin for taking the time to answer my questions!