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How Chef Charles Mani Is Heightening the Denver Area’s Indian Food Scene

Urban Village in Lone Tree brings innovative Indian fare to the Southern 'burbs.

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If you live or work south of Englewood, you’re in luck: You’ll battle far less I-25 traffic to get to Lone Tree’s seven-month-old Urban Village, where chef Charles Mani is cooking exciting, refined Indian fare. An alum of New York City’s acclaimed Babu Ji and Badshah, Mani never settles for the ordinary, rubbing duck legs with cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, and star anise to make confit and enhancing a coconut curry with fresh scallops. Such creativity—plus the arsenal of custom spice blends Mani makes every day—yields lighter, brighter dishes you don’t typically see at area Indian restaurants. The best way to savor his subcontinent-spanning repertoire is to order Urban Village’s tasting menu. The three-course meal includes four appetizers for the table, from the likes of “kale moong dal chaat” (crispy fried kale with sprouted lentils, mint, tamarind, cilantro purée, and roasted cumin yogurt) to Mani’s signature fried cauliflower in a sweet and tangy chile-tomato sauce; a variety of entrées; and cardamom-pistachio “kulfi” (India’s street-food-style ice cream popsicle) for dessert. At $39, it’s an affordable feast well worth the trek.

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