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Cornelius’ Curry ’n Kabab worth checking

The unlikely name notwithstanding, the Curry ’n Kabab House is elegant Indian dining.

The food: Lovely, vibrant fare, from the elegant take on papadum (here the wafer-thin lentil crackers are served in a conical shape) to lamb Pasanda, a creamy dish with remarkable depth of flavor, to simple tandoori meats.

Owners Hitesh and Anjali Twari (who also have Curry n Cake, a restaurant/bakery in the University area) are natives of northern India (she from the foothills of the Himalayas, he from a little farther south), but offer a menu that’s quite wide-ranging.

Curries themselves are wide-ranging: Remember, that word is a sort of catchall created by the British for India’s stewlike dishes that have all sorts of different seasonings and not anything to do with the “curry powder” you may be thinking of.

Here, curries range from the well-known Punjabi dish called tikka masala (more northerly) to the spicy chicken Chettinad from farther south. Kababs include chicken, lamb, shrimp, salmon and halibut. Naans are delicate and delicious, as are the pickles, and the raita is a chunkier version than usual, but equally cooling for spicy dishes.

The look: Black (walls and linen) and white (leathery seating and plates) rule the interior with occasional metallic touches of vases and wall decorations.

The service: Ours clearly felt Chinese food was the closest most people have come to Indian fare, and listed everything with that frame of reference: He said the place had three main offerings: fried rice, stir fries and kababs. The menu does offer a handful of Chinese dishes, but to not offer enthusiastic descriptions is to do a disservice to this restaurant’s abilities. (Plus he got things wrong.) The House needs better.

Details: 19905 W. Catawba Ave. in Cornelius; lunch and dinner (entrees about $7-$22); 704-765-5154; theckhouse.com.

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