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Ishqtar?

Ishq, the contemporary Indian restaurant whose opening at 530 Ocean Drive, South Beach, has been “highly anticipated” (re:long delayed), will finally start cooking this Friday (September 14). Owners Sham and Kavita Kamlani promise “Bombay street fare in an oceanside setting” and a menu of traditional dishes (samosas, masalas, tandooris) complemented by “the less traditional” -- like a portobello “naanini” sandwich and Bombay baby back ribs.

Uh-oh.

I’m not saying these mock concoctions won’t turn out tasty, but are there really not enough Indian foods to comprise a diverse menu without adding such bastardized filler? Am I so out of the loop that I don’t realize that diners who go out to eat Indian food are secretly yearning for baby back ribs? And do proprietors of our ethnic eateries consistently feel the need to pad their menus with goofy fusions and timid renditions because they don’t have enough faith in their own cuisine, or is it because they underestimate the public’s culinary sophistication? The answers, respectively, are no, no, and both. --Lee Klein

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Frank Houston

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