Sunday, August 19, 2018

Cardamom Indian restaurant opening in downtown Idaho Falls today

The staff at Cardamom, a new downtown Indian restaurant, enjoy some down time Friday afternoon.
Here’s a heads-up for all of you people eager for a new place to eat: Cardamom, a new Indian restaurant in downtown Idaho Falls, is having its soft opening today.

Located at Park Avenue and B Street, the restaurant is owned by Sheba Bakshi-Sofi and her husband, Javed. A native of Kashmir, in the north of India, Bakshi-Sofi has lived in the United States for more than 40 years. She has worked for Nestle and Con-Agra Foods, and was most recently vice-president of international marketing for Melaleuca, Inc.

She left Melaleuca earlier this year to pursue her restaurant dream, and on Friday morning it was her former Melaleuca colleagues she invited to the restaurant for a trial run. “There were 40 to 45 people, which was more than I expected,” she said. “I told them ‘Don’t hold back, order anything off the menu you want.’”

Kashmir is unlike the rest of India in that it borders China, Russia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Its cuisine is a reflection of its crossroads status, and Bakshi-Sofi said they wanted to be eclectic when it came to Cardamom’s menu. “You’ll find dishes traditionally not on the big menus,” she said. “We do serve Chicken Tikka Masala, though.”

In addition to her husband, Bakshi-Sofi’s mother, Nasira Sofi, has been involved in menu decisions and training the staff. Cardamom has five people in the kitchen, led by head chef Jessica Guison and sous chef Stuart Stansifer. Emily Ketchum is taking care of the front-of-house.

Located in the Earl Building, 501 Park Avenue, Cardamom has capacity for about 70 dinners. Bakshi-Sofi said they are planning a grand opening for Sept. 7. “We have fallen in love with downtown,” she said. “Your have to really love what you do to make things happen.”