Hometown Eats: Nawab

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 1:33 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) -You can find all kinds of international flavor in downtown Roanoke, but once upon a time, that wasn’t the case.

“There was no Indian restaurant, like a whole one, for like an hour,” said Nawab General Manager Neil Deshmukh.

Nawab, Cuisine of India, has been tickling taste buds for over two decades on Campbell Avenue. The walls are filled with art representing the 28 states of India and are as colorful as the dishes coming out of the kitchen.

This restaurant was the dream of owner Pennu Singh, whom you see, as soon as you enter the restaurant, on the cover of an old Roanoker magazine featuring his unique menu.

His success in the Star City inspired him to expand to Charlotte, NC. That’s where Deshmukh came on board 8 years ago.

“He likes perfection and that’s why when you come to Nawab, it has survived 25 years. The flavors, the ingredients, the food quality, whatever he uses is the best,” said Deshmukh.

Nawab recently celebrated 25 years in business. Singh was on hand, as well as the mayor, state representatives and other leaders of the valley to cut the ribbon on another quarter century of breaking stereotypes that all Indian food is hot and spicy.

“We use a lot of spices, but you can make any food like mild, medium, hot, Indian hot or whatever you like. If you don’t like spicy you definitely don’t have to, so we can make the food mild for you. That’s the big misconception about Indian food. Indians like spicy but not all Indians like spicy,” Deshmukh explained.

Chef Keval Sherma has been heading up the kitchen for 14 years. To him, preparing each order is second to naan.

“He is very passionate about his food. Whatever he makes, I have never seen it not be up to the mark. He makes sure everything is right before it goes out of the kitchen,” said Deshmukh.

If you’re still a little skeptical, Neil knows the perfect dishes to start your tour of India.

“I would tell you the tikka masala or the tandoori mixed grill and the korma. These are the basic things,” said Deshmukh. “Whenever you come, you won’t be upset because the flavors of the food, everything is made fresh.”

Nawab, a Hometown Eat that’s an Indian cuisine trailblazer.

Nawab is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and is at 118 Campbell Ave SE A, Roanoke, VA 24011

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