Desi Galli Reinvents Indian Street Eats

Desi Galli is located at 101 Lexington Avenue at 27th Street, 212-683-2292, www.desi-galli.com  and is open for lunch and dinner from noon to 11 PM. Takeout, delivery, eat-in and offsite catering are all available. The dining room is also available for meetings with comfortable seating, free wifi, cellphone chargers, high-resolution flat-screen televisions

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Already known for its exciting versions of hand-held Indian street foods, Desi Galli now offers healthier, enlightened versions of their popular kathi roll, including the first and only gluten-free paratha, developed in-house and made with chickpea and rice flour, as well as an expanded menu including other new vegan and gluten-free options.

Owner PriaVanda Chouhan and her husband created their restaurant to satisfy the Desi (Indian sub-continent diaspora) hankering for Indian soul food. Though her father warned her husband-to-be that she couldn’t cook, PriaVanda soon taught herself to make not only her mother’s recipes but also her husband’s family favorites. Inspired by Rachael Ray’s fast and easy methods for putting dinner on the table in under 30 minutes, she turned her home kitchen into a test kitchen, mastering a multitude of Indian recipes every day, and also developing her own personal style of lighter, healthier, vegan and gluten-fee cooking without sacrificing flavor or authenticity.

Now she runs the day-to-day operations of this popular fast casual restaurant, as well as overseeing the menu. She also designed the chic subterranean dining room: following the brick staircase (a nod to London’s Brick Lane) to the basement galli (Indian alley) that is decorated with bright red walls and new artwork. Perhaps the most important element of the design is the open kitchen, where guests can see all their favorite comfort foods being prepared to order and where the highest priority is the fresh, high-quality ingredients—including fresh vegetables, herbs, spices, paneer (cheese), chicken and Halal meats including Australian lamb, all ground in house. Nothing is microwaved or comes out of a box.

The Birth of the Kathi Roll

Desi Galli has distinguished itself with its fresh and healthy kathi rolls and sliders, selected as the Best Indian Sandwich in New York by Time Out and praised repeatedly by Serious Eats. One aspect that makes Desi Galli’s kathi rolls special is that there is no clarified butter (ghee) in any of the wraps. Made to order from a choice of paratha, the quintessential north Indian flat bread, the chewier stretchy roomali roti from central India, whole-wheat vegan paratha, created especially by Desi Galli with no dairy or egg, and now, the first gluten-free paratha, made with chickpea and rice flour and yogurt, a delicious wheat-free alternative. Any kathi roll can be ordered with your choice of bread, and the addition of spinach or an egg. The Desi Galli kathi roll leaves you satisfied, without a heavy feeling.

desi plate

Thirteen varieties of kathi roll can be ordered gluten-free with fillings that include chicken korma, delicately spiced chicken with tomatoes, lamb bhuna, slow-cooked, moist and tender Australian lamb and the galli omelette, a warming combination of eggs, bell peppers, onions and tomatoes with a distinctive India twist. One of the newest gluten-free options is the vegan 7 vegetable, that combines lightly spiced curried carrots, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, green peas, broccoli and cauliflower in a delicious mélange. Other vegan fillings include channa, spiced chickpea, aloo, spiced potato and aloo piyaaz, a combination of chickpea and potato with cilantro. There are hundreds of options—depending on how you choose to customize your kathi rolls. Equally popular are the sliders: Mumbai pav, traditional Indian buns served slider style with Indian-spiced fillings such as aloo paneer tikki pav, cumin-flavored potatoes and grated Indian cheese or the vada pav, a vegetarian potato fritter with tamarind chutney.

In addition to these favorites, the menu now includes biryani, another favorite Indian comfort food—that is also gluten-free. At Desi Galli, the fragrant, delicate rice dish is made to order in the open kitchen and served with a side of raita (yogurt sauce). Flavors include vegetable and paneer tikka (both vegetarian) and chicken, lamb or shrimp.

The chaat menu includes new dishes, too. These traditional crunchy, spicy, tangy, savory, vegetarian dishes appease every snack craving. In particular, the newly added vegan pani puri, pays homage to the owners’ Gujarati heritage, reflecting the preference for strong spice in Northern India: The bite-sized puri (puffy bread) are filled with spiced potatoes and a dose of tamarind water. Another new Gujarati chaat is shev puri with spiced potatoes, tamarind chutney, mint cilantro chutney, yogurt, showered with shev, crispy bits of chickpea flour noodles. Not to be missed is palak patte ki chaat, which won a shout out from Serious Eats, chickpea-flour dipped fried spinach leaves, layered with spiced chickpeas, red onion and diced tomato, drizzled with yogurt, mint chutney, and tangy tamarind sauce.

Also new on the menu is a selection of pav dishes—traditional curries served with the same pav (rolls) used in the sliders served with a side of chopped red onions, fresh cilantro and lemon. The wonderfully spiced Gujarati vegetable mash characterized by the cauliflower and eggplant in addition to potatoes, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and peas—made to be soaked up with the fluffy white bread. Other varieties include spiced chickpea, Indian cheese with tomatoes and peas, chicken korma, slow-cooked lamb and minced lamb.

In keeping with the figure-friendly menu, the menu now includes a selection of salads (also all gluten free)—mixed greens, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes and onions with a choice of mint or tamarind dressing, featuring either marinated paneer, chicken tikka (marinated chicken breast) or seehk kebab, spiced Australian lamb strips.

To go with these snacks, Desi Galli offers a selection of beverages, including custom-blended masala chai served hot or iced, house made mango lassi and imported Indian soft drinks such as Thums Up and Limca. There are also desserts for a special treat: Rasmalai, cottage cheese dumplings soaked in sweet saffron flavored milk or Galli Ki Kulfi, creamy, yet light, housemade saffron or mango-flavored iced cream on a stick.

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Good idea. Good food. Good price. I’ve enjoyed Indian snacks in India, but seldom in NY Luxury restaurants. which sometimes offer them as a gimmick. Here’s the real thing. Very nice indeed.

Copyright 2014 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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Tamarind TriBeCa Offers NY’s Most Glamorous Indian Dining Experience

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The Dramatic Tamarind Restaurant.

99 Hudson Street

  • (Btwn Franklin & Leonard St)

Telephone number/Tamarind TriBeCa is 212-775-9000

The restaurant serves lunch and dinner daily. Its full menu is available at the bar.

Click Here To Visit The website

Click Here To Make a reservation On Open Table

.tamarind chops

Not To Be Missed. The Amazing MASALEDAR CHOP (Lamb chops marinated in nutmeg, cinnamon, aromatic Indian herbs), Pictured Above.

tamarind Mr. Walia useAvtar Walia,(pictured left) previously owner of the acclaimed Tamarind in the Flatiron section (now closed), is devoting his energies to his newest restaurant Tamarind TriBeCa in Manhattan’s prime and most sought-after neighborhood.The architect and designer of Tamarind TriBeCa is Wid Chapman, who heads the award-wining firm of Wid Chapman Architects in New York. The modern 11,000 square foot space seats 175 people on two levels, the main dining room and a 1,500 square foot mezzanine.  At the entrance is a stylish bar and cocktail lounge with a marble and onyx bar, and a communal wine table framed by a wall of Brazilian teak, and lit by an illuminated wine display.

Dramatic ceiling high windows face Hudson and Franklin Streets, adding drama to dining at Tamarind, and L-shaped banquette seating in low booths can be found around many of the windows. Another interior element is the wide range of materials and shapes used to create the imaginative custom lighting, both ceiling mounted and wall displayed.  These edgy designs are used to define each of the varied areas in the restaurant.  Limestone clad columns reach the 18 foot ceilings and below, polished, sustainable teak wood and streaked marble, cover the floors. Intimate booths with banquette seating and sheer curtain dividers are located under the mezzanine. A floating cantilevered stair leads up to the mezzanine to be used for dining, private parties and special events.  The area is surrounded by glass which visually connects diners on the two levels

The overall effect is breathtaking and dazzling and is enhanced by extraordinary service, under the direction of  the polished Manager Christopher Corda. (Don’t forget to check out the new Tamarind Lotus Room, bar lounge area and  the mezzanine).

The food represents many of India’s diverse regions to produce new dishes and classic fare, in addition to selected offerings drawn from Tamarind’s original Flatiron location.. Anchoring the TriBeCa site is a windowed tandoor kitchen crowned by a unique black metal roof.

tamarind scallops

Among the exceptional dishes featured on Tamarind’s menu are: Puff pastry, filled with melted cheese (yes it’s mozzarella, but who cares. It’s delicious).  Dover sole is baked in a clay pot, layered with whole spices, and bathed in a pasanda sauce;  while Lobster is combined with shitake mushrooms, chopped onions, garlic, and  white wine;  Bataki Kosha, An unusual Duck dish, is hand rolled in a rice crepe, with onions, garlic, ginger, garam masala; while Prawns are sautéed in coconut, lemongrass, dried red chilies, spiced chickpea flour cake.

Also loved: Achari hiran ki chhampen, the legendary Venison chops marinated in pickling spices, roasted chickpea flour and hung yogurt;  MASALEDAR CHOP (Lamb chops marinated in nutmeg, cinnamon, aromatic Indian herbs was equally divine; MALAI HALIBUT, Halibut flavored with mace, cardamom, in coconut, ginger sauce may the the seafood star; Raan e Dumpukht, Lamb shank braised in Indian rum, onions, cashew nuts, saffron and nutmeg is the best shank I’ve had in years: fork tender, huge and impeccably spiced (worthy of a visit in its own right); MAJJIGA PULUSU, a fascinating mélange of Buttermilk, green plantains, yams, radishes, white pumpkin, carrots, okra, mustard seeds,and curry leaves.

Of course you must order the superb Indian breads (check out the minted and rosemary varieties) and flavored rice as well as cooling flavored yogurt and sweet chutney on the side. And don’t skip dessert. Tamarind TriBeCa takes them seriously. We loved the fruited cheese cake and warm carrot pudding and there are many others to choose from.

tamarind dessert

Tamarind’s focus has always been to pair fine wines with the food his chefs prepare. And the TriBeCa restaurant has increased the number and variety of wines in its inventory.  Prices are fair and the selection is good. Tamarind maintains a well-stocked full service bar and high end products. The cocktails are both inventive and generous.

Forget all your clichés regarding Indian food and for an elegant night out or just some of the best Indian cooking in Manhattan, head for Tamarind TriBeCa. You won’t be disappointed.

Copyright 2014 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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Kokum: A tribute to the Cuisine and Culture of Kerala

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Kokum is located at 106 Lexington Avenue, 212-684-6842, www.kokumny.com.

Officially opening on October 9, 2013.  Kokum is open for lunch every day from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with Lunch Box specials available daily. Dinner Sun.-Thurs. 5 to 10 p.m., Fri & Sat. 5-10:30 p.m.


A South Indian Thrill Spices Up Curry Hill

Ask any well-seasoned New Yorker where to go for the best bite of any regional cuisine and she is likely to steer you away from any of the city’s popular “food districts.” For it would be a foodie offense of the highest order to venture to Chinatown, Indian Row or Little Italy for their respective fare (or, God forbid, a slice of NYC pizza!)  Despite having once been considered “safe bets” for visitors, locals have often regarded these areas as unsavory, offering diners sub-standard cuisine lacking in authenticity.

The one exception to the rule is the ever-evolving Curry Hill, due largely in part to the trendsetting palate revelations of restaurateur Shiva Natarajan (of Chote Nawab, Malai Marke, Dhaba, and Chola fame). Natarajan has repeatedly reinvented Indian cuisine with a simple yet effective formula: keep it authentic. And while it may seem to purists that tradition and creativity can be at odds when it comes to food preparation, he has consistently debunked this theory by combining unrelenting authenticity with enough inventive flair to excite the most sophisticated palate. His latest creation, Kokum, is a solid testament to that precision. Unlike the standard fare of dosas and daals found in many of the area’s other restaurants, Kokum is a tribute to the genuine, enchanting offerings of exclusively South Indian cuisine, with a menu unlike any other.

kokum Eggplant Chennai Curry

Credit Protech NYC All photos.  Eggplant Curry Above

Kokum (which is a souring agent native to South India, similar to Tamarind) is a tribute to the cuisine and culture of Kerala, a state in Southern India known for its lush vegetation, crustaceans, coconuts and exotic spices; all of which account for it’s coveted cuisine. The simple, casual yet stylish décor is modeled after the interior of the “Snake Boats” used in the boat races that are also popular in the region. A prominent spice exporter since as early as 3000 BCE, Kerala is also famous for its Ayurvedic practices, and so it would follow that an outstanding feature of the Kokum menu is a distinct attention to spice and flavor-combinations that manages to both soothe and excite, but not overwhelm, the palate.

For instance, the Veg Upma appetizer (steamed cream of wheat implanted with tender veggies) is almost a comfort food—until the exotic flavors kick in to excite. The Kumily Chicken, tender chunks of perfectly (but not overly) spiced chicken with green chilies and curry leaves, is a divine starter for those who may want to venture into the taste sensations gradually, while the Lamb Oolarthiyathu—succulent pieces of meat sautéed with coconut peppercorns and shallots—will satisfy even the most demanding spice aficionados. For a dose of the proprietary spice, try the Shrimp Kokum which is marinated and sautéed with shallots.

Kokum - Meen Pollichathu

The entrees feature a variety of mains from every category, from poultry dishes to seafood to the lamb and goat delicacies more traditional throughout the country.  The Kerala Chicken Stew is a creamy concoction of coconut, veggies, and whole masalas. The Meen Pollichathu (Above), flaky fragrant fish roasted in a plantain leaf and gorgeously presented, is almost a holistic experience—pleasurable to four of the five senses; or the absolutely trance-inducing Crab Ullarthu, cooked in coconut, garlic, and coriander, and whose texture satisfies almost as much as its flavor.  The Soft Shell Crab roast, cooked to medium-spicy perfection black pepper and shallots, is also sure to wow the taste buds.

There’s an extensive selection of vegetarian entrees on the menu, most of which are also vegan. Quite a few are prepared with healthy root vegetables, and some with veggies that are delightfully unexpected, such as the Jackfruit Thoran, which features the exotic and tender Jackfruit, stir-fried in coconut and has a consistency and flavor similar to chicken. The Avial Malabar is an eclectic mixed vegetable dish with yogurt, coconut, and curry leaves, and the Erissery is a delicious combination of red pumpkin and black-eyed beans with southern spices. Pair any of these a side of the several specialty rices (tamarind, coconut, and lemon infusions, among others) and you have a meal that would satisfy even a stout religious carnivore. 

Kokum - Dosa

One notable feature of the Kokum menu is the substantial dosa and Indian “street food” selection that includes a Dosa Stall (Above), Uttapam (Indian pancake) Stall, andMuniyandi Dosa Villas featuring the most addictive, gigantic dosas this side of the Ganges served with six dipping sauces ranging in flavors from sweet and spicy to tangy and thick.  The dosas come with a variety of fillings, like spiced potatoes and onions in the Masala Dosa or spicy Chettinad pepper chicken in the Pepper Chicken Dosa.  Or there’s the Onion Chili Uttapam, studded with onions and green chilies.

Just when you think the meal can’t get any more exciting, there’s an otherworldly cocktail list that truly takes Kokum’s fabulous flavor-combinations to level next. TheTadi Fling mixes light and dark rum with sweet vermouth, lime, and pineapple juices, and the Tropical Kerala is a surprisingly light concoction with gin, Saint Germain, lemon juice, triple sec, and mint. The Kokum, featuring its namesake along with cardamom-infused vodka, lime juice, honey, green tea, and a splash of tamarind water, should probably not be missed.  There is also an extensive beer and wine menu, with offerings by the bottle or by the glass and outstanding cocktails. Service is warm, efficient and helpful.

Copyright 2013 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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Patiala Delivers Punjabi Slow Food Fast!

Patiala Interior 1 
Patiala, a recently opened jewel-box takeout space in Midtown West, which is serving quality home-style Punjabi cuisine.  Don’t let the takeout fool you though—it’s nothing like the average, ordinary takeout selections you’re thinking of.  Instead, at Patiala you’ll get the quality, flavor, and freshness of a fine Indian restaurant packaged in a unique to-go concept.  In fact, you can think of Patiala as serving slow food, fast!

Patiala’s draw is its complete lunch & dinner boxes to go.   Available all day, every day, are freshly prepared whole meals that include a choice of an entrée from seven different categories that suit any diet or craving—vegetarian, vegan, chicken, lamb, tikka, biryani, and vindaloo—each accompanied by a vegetable, choice of daal (lentils in light sauce) or rajma (kidney beans in thick gravy), rice (brown or white basmati), and tandoori bread (naan or roti), all for an extremely wallet-friendly price.  That’s a lot of food! The entrée selections within each category will rotate daily, but you might expect to find dishes like Bindi Sasurwali, offering tender yet crunchy home-style okra, or Mangalorean Chicken in a coconut curry, with curry leaves.  Lamb Vindaloo is a fiery option that packs on the heat with a red chili sauce.  These dishes, as well as others like Shrimp Kadai with onions and bell pepper, can also be ordered a-la-carte to go, all at very reasonable prices.

patilia sign

Out of a small sliver of a takeout restaurant on a busy section of 34th Street and 9th Avenue, comes a notable variety of home-style Punjabi cuisine with an emphasis on freshness, flavor and fast delivery.  Named for a region in Northwest India, Patiala offers slow-cooked, freshly prepared cuisine to go, prepared to maximize the customer’s convenience without cutting corners on quality.  This is Indian food at its most comforting.

Patiala Interior 2

Chef/owner Darshan Kaur Puri has created a comprehensive menu of simple, yet satisfying dishes, all available for takeout, delivery and catering.  Every day, there are several options for fast, inexpensive yet complete lunches and dinners offered in boxes to go. These are freshly prepared meals with a choice of entrée, vegetable, daal (lentils in light sauce) or rajma (kidney beans in a thick gravy), rice (brown or white basmati) and bread (naan or roti), available continuously throughout the day from 11:30 am-9:30 pm, with an average price of just $8. The boxes are offered in seven different categories: vegetarian, vegan, chicken, tikka, biryani, lamb or vindaloo, but the choices don’t stop there. The entrée selections within each category will draw from a changing selection of specials, posted each day, rotating through Patiala’s abundant offerings.  And for only $2 more, customers can add samosas for an appetizer or gulab jamuns (fried milk balls in sugar syrup) for dessert. 

Patiala Chicken Tikka Masala

Guests can also choose anything all day from the à la carte menu and it will be made to order for delivery or pickup.  Vegetarian entrees include daal makhni, creamy black lentils, aloo jeera, potatoes spiced with cumin, and mattar paneer, green peas and tender paneer cheese in a creamy sauce.  Non-vegetarian entrees include chicken, lamb and shrimp selections:  Chicken entrees include murgh tikka, charcoal-grilled, skewered chicken from the Tandoor oven, chicken tikka masala in a creamy tomato sauce, and extra spicy chicken vindaloo in red chili sauce.  Lamb dishes include lamb rogan josh, a curry from Kashmir, lamb bhuna mirchwala, spiced with green chilies, and super hot and spicy lamb vindaloo. Shrimp curry is prepared with onion-tomato sauce and shrimp kadai is sautéed and tossed with onions and bell peppers.

Patilia fish

Patiala Mattar Paneer

No Indian meal is complete without tandoor-fired breads and Patiala has an impressive range of these too—in addition to the classic plain naan, leavened bread that is a perfect accompaniment for sauces you’ll want to soak up, there are also garlic or onion naan, and as well as whole-wheat roti and tandoori paratha, multi-layered bread.  For dessert, there are the classic Indian sweets, gulab jamun (fried milk balls in sugar syrup), kheer (rice pudding), and beverages such as smooth and delightful lassi in plain and mango, and the classic spiced tea, masala chai.

patilia bread

Patiala Tadka Saag

Portion sizes are generous; prices are low and Patiala delivers some of the most authentic Indian food in Manhattan.

 

Copyright 2013 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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Benares Midtown Is A Jewel In The Indian Restaurant Scene

Benares Midtown is located at 240 W. 56th Street between 8th Avenue and Broadway, 212-397-0707, http://www.benaresnyc.com and is open for lunch Mon-Sunday from 11:30am-2:45pm. Dinner is served daily from 5pm-10:30pm. Benares Tribeca is well known for its remarkably diverse Indian cuisine and excellent service.  But what many people don’t realize is that the first Benares, […]

BENARES TRIBECA PROVES HOW UNIQUE INDIAN CUISINE CAN BE

Benares Interior 2

The Attractive Dining Room: (Photos Credit ACMB Photography)

Benares Tribeca is located at 45 Murray Street, 212-766-4900, and is open for lunch Mon-Sun from 11:30am-3:00pm. Lunch specials are a steal ($10.95-16.95), with a choice of three courses in vegetarian, non-vegetarian, seafood or tandoori, all served with Banarsi dal, steamed rice, naan or paratha and dessert. Dinner is served daily from 5pm-10:30pm.

Click Here For a Reservation

The world of Indian cuisine is vast and diverse. Every 100 miles in India the food changes, from the Eastern areas influenced by China to the abundance of chilies for cooling purposes in the South.  But in the world of Indian cuisine in Manhattan, the leaders in the field clearly stand out:  Restaurateur Inder Singh, a former partner in Devi and Baluchi’s, who also has a family legacy in the business (Poonam, Minar, Aangan), has recently joined forces with acclaimed Executive Chef Peter Beck, celebrated for his creative cuisine at Tamarind and Chola.  Together, they have established Benares, a celebration of the foods they cherish, featuring specialties from all 28 states of India, dishes not found in any other restaurant in New York.

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The menu is a medley of regional dishes with an emphasis on the restaurant’s namesake city of Benares, which is known for vegetarian dishes. Benares (also known as Varanasi), a city in the north of India, is a spiritual place that has historically been home to thousands of religious temples, that is culturally linked to the Ganges River.

The first outpost of Benares, recently opened in midtown, has been so successful that the team has brought the concept to Tribeca, in tribute to their neighborhood clientele, focusing even more on healthful options, with an even stronger emphasis on vegetarian and seafood entrees, prepared with a minimum of butter and fat, and a maximum of spice and flavor.  The tandoori oven is also used to great effect, to create flavorful preparations, while keeping the food light and healthy. Tandoori dishes are also, atypically, served with grilled vegetables at the Tribeca location.

Benares Interior 1

The clean, spare interior in the open Tribeca space, captures immediately the upscale experience one can expect, with deep mustard and dark brown banquets and earth-toned panels punctuated by red saris, representative of the region.  The theme of the Ganges River flows throughout the space. For example, a mobile dividing panel contains a window in the shape of the Ganges, with embedded rose petals floating in the glass. The bar is highlighted by paintings of India from the Victoria and Albert Museum, photographed and reprinted on aluminum.

benares veg use

You are greeted at the elegantly modern Benares, not with the ubiquitous flat papadum wafer, but instead with a bamboo-paper boat of colorful pink and yellow flower-shaped crunchy crackers called Phoolwadi, making it clear that this is a different experience. The snacks are served with traditional condiments for dipping including tamarind and cilantro, as well as an orange-spiced liquid invention of Chef Beck (delicious). Typically served only in private homes, these special little snacks are perfect with the house cocktails, including the signature Varanasi, composed of tequila, roasted pineapples, house-infused orange liqueur and chili-laced grenadine.

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The extensive appetizer list is a great introduction to the diversity of spices, flavors, sauces and textures found at Benares. Kashmiri Tikki, bright beet red and roasted turnip patties seasoned with fennel, ginger, garlic and cumin and garnished with crispy lotus and mint relish, is representative of the vegetarian cuisine of the city of Benares.  But you don’t have to be a vegetarian to be thrilled by the flavors of Beck’s other interpretations of Bombay street food:  Extra spicy sprouted beans with chili, coconut, and spiced crisps, called Kolhapuri Missal, are extra-popular with spice addicts, but are served with a cooling herbal yogurt lassi.  Aloo Papri Chaat may seem familiar, but these wheat crisps, topped with yogurt, chickpeas and potatoes with a sprinkling of jewel-like pomegranate seeds, have flavors that pop and textures that surprise: Not to be missed!

Benares - Scallops

Beck also has a special way with lamb as is evident in Makkai ka Soweta, an addictive combination of tender yogurt and turmeric marinated lamb shoulder mixed with roasted corn served with Malaysian Paratha (layered pancake like bread).  Seafood lovers can also find a preview here with the outstanding Konkani Shrimp in spicy palate pleasing tomato sauce flavored with cumin, cinnamon and black pepper with a steamed rice cake or Tawa Scallops, tender pan-seared scallops on a tomatillo, green chili and ginger sauce topped with mango-tomato relish, a fresh chutney-meets-salsa with terrific kick.

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One of the most enlightening entrees is Beguni Maach, meltingly tender braised marinated sea bass with ginger, garlic, jalapenos and sun-dried tomatoes served over garam masala baked eggplant, a vegetable accompaniment worthy of being an entrée all on its own.  Other entrees will also surprise:  Murgh Seyal is a moist grilled chicken breast, subtly spiced, and served over spinach and broccoli rabe.  Barrah Masaledar is tender grilled baby lamb chops, wonderfully sauced with a spicy, tangy tomato garam masala, and can be paired with Saffron Rice or Rosemary Naan. It is the best version of the ubiquitous lamb chops in any Manhattan Indian restaurant. For a real treat check out the amazing goat: tender and succulent, it is delicious with raita and warm bread or flavored rice..

benares samosa

Vegetarian dishes include Banarsi Dal, a very special blend of three lentils (symbolizing the holy rivers that join together at the Ganges in the city of Benares), pigeon peas, black and yellow lentils are prepared tableside in a dramatic fiery presentation, mixed with fresh onion, ginger, tomatoes and ghee.  There’s also a not to be missed entrée of baby eggplants simmered in coconut, peanut, curry leaves, served with stuffed peppers called Baingan Mirch ka Salan.

Desserts include the traditional milk-based sweets such as Gulab Jamun, condensed milk roundels in sugar syrup, and Rasmalai, sweet cottage cheese dumplings, as well as Kheer Anarkali, pomegranate-saffron flavored rice pudding, thick, creamy and delicious. For something out-of-the-ordinary, go for the warm chocolate soufflé with soft ice cream.

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The well-edited global wine list was specially selected to pair with Indian spices and flavors.  Most of the wines are available by the glass or by the bottle.  The light sweetness of the Washington State Chateau St. Michelle Riesling offsets the spiciness of the food, and the fruitiness of the Handcraft California pinot noir is a good match for lamb and chicken dishes.  There’s also a choice of 11 beers including Kingfisher and Taj Mahal.

Service, under the direction of a seasoned pro, restaurant manager Ranbir Bhatia, is helpful and professional and Benares TriBrCa is a must on any subcontinent foodie’s radar and some of the most interesting Indian food in Manhattan.

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Copyright 2013 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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India’s Diwali comes to NYC at Moti Mahal Delux

I   India’s most recognized holiday, Diwali, also known as the “Festival of Lights,” celebrates the victory of good over evil, with lights representing the spirit within, food and sweets, which symbolizes the counteractions of bitterness and renewing of friendships. If you’d like the partake in Diwali’s rich culture, both visually and in taste, we […]