In the year that it opened (2021), Dhamaka ended up on every major publication’s list of the best new restaurants in the USA. But that doesn't mean this is a fussy, expensive, tasting menu-type joint. Dhamaka is its own type of fine dining: its decor is casually exuberant, its prices fair, and, most importantly, its food will make you rethink what you thought you understood about Indian food. That’s partially because the dishes served here are taken not from the urban centers of India, but from villages in all parts of that subcontinent. Using these recipes, chef/owner Chintan Pandya offers a masterclass in the variety of ways spice can be delivered. With the Ragda Pattice, a comforting potato patty in a stew, the warmth in your mouth builds, almost like you’re pulling up a cashmere blanket. The paplet—pomfret coated with semolina and chili oil before being deep fried—slams the back of your throat with heat in a way that will snap you awake. And the adorable little bharela marcha (stuffed peppers) deliver tinylittle shocks of electricity that tap dance across your tongue. But even when dishes are at their most fiery, they never lose their complex, tasty balance, which means that even folks who don’t consider themselves chili heads will enjoy a meal here—if they can get in. Reservations are very difficult to snag, so start trying early.