Yesterday, squid-kun, his lovely wife, and I revisted Sultan with the goal of testing what they can do with increased spiciness. We made it clear to our waiter that we enjoy very hot food, asked for recommendations on dishes that do well at higher heat levels, and asked that they be made at the appropriate level of spiciness. We weren't capsacin thrill seeking, rather we wanted to taste the food as they thought it should be.
Some of the best somosas around. Thin crunchy crust with well seasoned, juicy meat. Excellent, highly recommended.
Makkhani (Butter) Chicken
This dish was very similar to the version from the chowdown: tender chicken in a rich, tomatoey sauce. It was also hotter, but still quite reserved. It created a gently warmth in the mouth. The spice did improve the overall dish by cutting some of the richness. Very good and recommended.
This dish looked very hot, with tiny pools of orange oil covering the surface. However, the heat was about the same as the butter chicken, just a gentle warmth. But unlike the Makkhani, this one did not come together well. The cubes of mutton were overcooked and tough, the sauce did not enough enough acid (Trivia: vindaloo comes from "vinho e alho," Portugeuese for wine and garlic) and a little too much salt. Not recommended.
Bright yellow daal with bits of chopped fresh spinach. The flavor was similar to the daal pacha ratni: strong roasted garlic with spices (predominately cumin). The spinach was excellent and really improved the dish, so I ultimately think it's the better of their two daals. We asked for this one mild to ensure Mrs. squid-kun would have something she could eat (though it turned out none of the dishes were too spicy for her), but our waiter did say this is a dish that should be spicier. Very good and recommended.
Milky yogurt with diced onion, cucumber, and tomato. The vegetables were fresh and crunchy. Very good, even for a non-fan of raita.
As we were close to finishing, we overheard a gentlemen at the next table tell the waiter: "I can't eat any spice, not one tiny little bit, can you make the food with absolutely zero spice." Unless you're like that guy, I highly recommend that you ask for the food at Sultan to be made appropriately spicy: it is only a gentle warmth and seems to improve the food.
One last point: in the chowdown report I said Sultan would be a good pre- or post-theater dining option. Be forewarned that they make all of their food fresh and it therefore takes time to prepare. I would budget at least an hour and a half for a meal there.