Azhar Baig (photo by Rob Bartlett)

Azhar Baig (photo by Rob Bartlett)

Azhar Baig 

Sizzling Grill

You may need to read the next sentence a couple of times before you can believe your eyes. “Unlike many other Indian restaurants, I like to tailor my dishes to the customer’s taste. I don’t believe a dish has to be hot. I grind my own spices, so I can easily make a dish that’s traditionally hot, mild.” That’s right – Azhar Baig, chef-owner of Longwood’s Sizzling Grill (formerly Apna Café), doesn’t feel the need to force a fiery-hot curry on a customer who can’t handle it, nor does he hesitate to alter the customary heat level, a rare and welcome attitude. Baig’s indefatigable spirit animates Sizzling Grill with an infectious joy. The chef says, “I love the fragrance of biryani, and when I inhale the aroma, I feel like I’m in seventh heaven. And when I see the same reaction in other people’s faces, it takes away all the fatigue and weariness of the day.”

Patience pays off at Sizzling Grill: “My focus is that the food here is prepared fresh to order. It may take longer to prepare, but I believe it’s well worth the wait,” says Baig. We agree; the made-from-scratch curries (particularly a superb karahi gosht) are impressive.

1150 W. State Road 434, Longwood, 407-260-6062; $

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