Indian cuisine, with its diverse array of dishes, spices, and flavors, has piqued the curiosity of food enthusiasts worldwide.

However, many individuals in Western cultures remain hesitant to explore its delicacies. This reluctance often stems from unfamiliarity with the cuisine’s intricacies, misconceptions about its spiciness, and concerns about unfamiliar ingredients. 

Kinaara, an Indian restaurant located off Regency Parkway, aims to break barriers for hesitant taste buds, inviting diners to savor authentic Indian flavors. 

Ashish and Kimberly Sathyan own and operate their restaurant together as a couple. Ashish Sathyan, the driving force behind Kinaara’s kitchen, began his career as a chef in India, working at five-star hotels in his home country. His successes led him through the culinary landscapes of Dubai, New York City, and eventually Omaha, Nebraska.

Despite having envisioned a return to India, life had other plans when he met Kimberly at the casual Indian joint he was working at in the Blackstone district. Family circumstances led them to stay in Omaha, where they founded Kinaara.

At Kinaara, authenticity is non-negotiable. The restaurant’s name, Kinaara (किनारा), meaning “corner” “boundary” or “edge” in Hindi, reflects the restaurant in more ways than one. The literal translation of the word as “corner” reflects the restaurant’s physical location within Shops at Regency, but the metaphorical interpretation of the word ties into the restaurant’s mission as well.

Interpreting Kinaara as meaning “boundary” can lead one to multiple conclusions. In one aspect, the restaurant is setting boundaries when it comes to their offerings. Kinaara does not, and will not, serve a Westernized version of Indian cuisine. Their commitment to authentic, traditional recipes is palpable when perusing the menu.

This unwavering dedication means that Kinaara doesn’t serve vindaloo “mild” or cater to those seeking a diluted version of Indian cuisine. 

Kimberly Sathyan explains, “We want to have more spices, more flavors, and be more authentic.” 

It’s a bold approach in a world where many restaurants strive to make Indian cuisine more “palatable” by reducing the spice. 

On the flip side, the metaphorical interpretation of Kinaara can also be targeting the guest, challenging them to step out of their comfort zone and try new foods that they otherwise wouldn’t. If you look at Kinaara’s menu and realize you don’t recognize any of the dishes or ingredients, ask your server to break them down for you! 

Kinaara does offer a select variety of Indian fusion, such as their Masala Fries comprised of waffle sweet potato fries with tikka masala sauce, your choice of Paneer, Chicken, or Tofu, topped with mint chutney, tamarind chutney, pickled onion, and optional cheese. 

However, Ashish Sathyan’s focus when developing menus is tradition. Most of his recipes have been passed down from generations, originating in his mother’s and grandmother’s kitchens. Other recipes were inspired by dishes he grew up eating at toddy parlors, which specialize in delectable food and drink derived from palm and coconut trees in his home state of Kerala, located on the Malabar Coast. 

Within these traditional menu offerings, you’ll find biriyani, one of India’s most beloved dishes, featuring fragrant Basmati rice infused with an array of exotic spices and beautifully layered with your preferred protein; samosas, triangular pastries filled with a savory mixture, typically consisting of spiced potatoes, peas, and aromatic spices, deep-fried until golden and crispy; varieties of moliee, with gentle, coconut-infused flavors aiming to showcase the natural taste of the main ingredients, providing a contrast to the spicier and more robust curries found in on the menu; and several Tandoori options, cooked to perfection in a cylindrical clay or metal oven with an open top, known as a tandoor. 

Ultimately, Kinaara aims to foster connections and share Indian traditions. The “chef’s table” concept allows diners to savor Ashish’s favorite childhood dishes, providing an intimate experience. These gatherings create a sense of camaraderie among patrons, often culminating in meaningful connections reminiscent of family gatherings. 

“We’ve sold out all of the tickets for Chef’s Table in the first hour that we’ve offered them so far,” Ashish Sathyan beams. “At the end of the meal, customers are sharing phone numbers.” 

Ashish Sathyan’s passion for connecting with customers is evident in the way he describes the restaurant’s atmosphere and further carried out through his Chef’s Table concept. “It’s really fun,” he admits. “We like to support people’s lives, becoming a family with employees and customers.” 

Ashish and Kimberly Sathyan offer an invitation to venture beyond the kinaara of your comfort zone, to explore the diverse and nuanced world of Indian cuisine. As a place where boundaries blur, Kinaara serves as a gateway to the true essence of India, one plate at a time. 

Whether you’re a seasoned Indian food enthusiast or a newcomer to its flavors, Kinaara beckons Omaha foodies to embark on a culinary journey where authenticity reigns supreme. A reservation at Kinaara is an opportunity to savor the magic of true tradition and discover the genuine flavors of India. 

“Kinaara is not going to be the Indian that you’re used to in Omaha, but it’s going to be the best Indian that there is,” Kimberly Sathyan boasts.