Maharaja: Use it or lose it

maharajaRumors have been swirling that Maharaja, the fabulous but under-patronized Indian restaurant at 3008 W. Central, is closing its doors for good.

That may or may not be true.

The story is pretty much still what Carrie Rengers reported several weeks ago, except that it’s closing earlier than expected:  Owner Raj Singh is closing his way-too-slow restaurant on Dec. 15 rather than in February, as he had originally planned. He wants to stay in Wichita and will continue to search for a location on the east side.

Here’s what his unofficial spokesman, local foodie Andrew Gough, told me this morning via e-mail.

“He plans to take time to find a location here in Wichita on the east side and hopefully open by February or March. If he finds nothing, he’s going to close for good. We need to flood his restaurant over the next few weeks. Can you help drive some people there to give him enough motivation to stay in Wichita?”

I’m doing my part here. Now it’s up to you, naan fans.

Sooooooo sensuous

maharajaI think I’ve established this week that I love Indian food, and I love the Indian food at Maharaja, 3008 W. Central.

I really, really love the full official title Maharaja has give itself: “Maharaja: Sensuous Cusine of India.” It makes me blush when I eat it.

But I do worry about Maharaja, which seems to have a strong local following but rarely has many cars in the parking lot. Perhaps a change the restaurant just instituted will help: The delicious lunch buffet, which used to cost $9.95, has been reduced by $2 to $7.95. It’s served from 11 .m. to 2:30 p.m. daily except Mondays, when the restaurant is closed.

Call 316-264-0777 for more information.

Vegetarian dining

20070613 Fresh foodA reader named Barbara wrote over the weekend to pose a commonly asked question: Where can vegetarians find the best dishes in Wichita?

Barbara noted that she loves the vegetarian offerings at The Anchor, where juicy portobello sandwiches are on the menu, but she wondered where else she should try.

Following are a few of my suggestions. By all means, chime in if you can think of others.

1. D’Sozo, 1812 S. Seneca: This restaurant isn’t very old and opened in sort of an unexpected area. But it has a trained vegetarian chef preparing very good vegan and vegetarian dishes. When I reviewed it a few months ago, I was impressed with some fresh and fabulous soups and sandwiches, and the chef offers daily specials as well.

2. Zen Vegetarian Cuisine, 3101 N. Rock Road: This vegetarian Asian restaurant does a great job of preparing food that eliminates meat but not flavor. The chef experiments with lots of meat substitutes and fills dishes full of fresh veggies. I’ve heard they updated their menu recently, but I need to investigate.

3.  Maharaja, 3008 W. Central: Indian food is a good choice for vegetarians, and Maharaja offers several exotic uses of the green and leafy-s. The chefs care about vegetarians, so much so that they recently put on a special all-vegetarian dinner.

What am I missing?