Indian

 

 

Click here for a map of all the restaurants listed below.

 

  • Bawarchi [1149 First Ave. (at 63rd St.) 212-371-3535 (See www.baluchis.com for more locations)]
    A good, solid, reasonably priced chain of Indian restaurants (formerly Baluchi's). You know what you are getting here, and you know it will taste pretty good. The lunch special here is a particularly excellent deal.

    Cafe Spice [54 W. 55th St. (bet. 5th and 6th Aves.) 212-489-7444]
    Do not eat here! Under intense time pressure because we had tickets to an 8:00 PM performance at Carnegie Hall, my friends and I abandoned our plan to eat at the surprisingly crowded Tang Pavilion (one of my favorites as you all know), and walked across the street to Cafe Spice at 7:00 PM. Thinking myself vaguely familiar with the name, I figured it would be a decent choice for a quick dinner. Whoops. The lowlight was certainly the Lamb Seekh Kebab. Avoid it like the plague. It was so rubbery that Dan couldn't even take more than one bite. I unfortunately forced it down. The next afternoon I had some serious stomach problems for about an hour. Coincidence? I think not. For my main dish I ordered the "platter" of Murg Tikka Lababdar (essentially Chicken Tikka Masala). The great deal about the platter is that you get rice, lentils, and naan for "only" $5 extra. Rice is usually included with every dish... Anyway, this dish was thoroughly mediocre. Maybe they excel in more obscure, "authentic" dishes. I did see an Indian family eating there when we were leaving (in time for the show). And I will say that the bathroom sinks were very cool and the service was friendly enough. But don't ever go here. Especially with the incredible Tang Pavilion across the street. I don't care what kind of time pressure you have.

    Chola [232 E. 58th St. (bet. 2nd and 3rd Aves.) 212-688-4619]
    Delivery from here may take forever, but at least the food is very good when it finally arrives. In-house dining is even better of course, offering a wide variety of dishes at pretty high prices.

    Indus Valley [2636 Broadway (at 100th St.) 212-222-9222]
    Delicious Upper West Side Indian food (plus they have cool cups for your water). I especially liked the lentils and the Chicken Zafrani. Apparently it is one of the only good Indian restaurants on the Upper West Side.

  • Kati Roll Company [39 W. 39th St. (bet. 5th and 6th Aves) 212-730-4280]
  • Long lines for lunch usually mean that a place is either very famous, very good, or very convenient for a lot of people. Since you've probably never heard of Kati Roll Company and it's not close enough to enough offices (and I'm writing about it), it must be very good. The clincher is that most of the people waiting are Indian. Whenever you've got the approval of your own ethnicity, you must be doing something right. In this case, they are making delicious paratha bread wraps filled with paneer, chicken, beef, lamb, egg and more. Think of it as something akin to an Indian burrito if that's easier for you. I like to have two rolls, one meat  (chicken or beef tikka) to start and one paneer to cleanse my palate. This is a pretty filling meal, but one roll just won't cut it. Be warned that even though this is fast food, you will have to wait a few minutes for your rolls to be prepared freshly even after you order. However, you can enjoy the pictures on the menu and the Indian movie posters on the wall while you wait for your delicious food. There is some seating inside, but this is a meal that can also easily taken back to the office. There is a second branch of Kati Roll Company on MacDougal Street near Bleecker.

  • Masala Bollywood [108 Lexington Ave. (bet. 27th and 28th Sts.) 212-679-1284]
    The walls are adorned with pictures of Bollywood stars past and present and the flat-screen TV shows Bollywood movies on loop. This is not your typical Curry Hill Indian restaurant. But the food brings you back and makes you realize where you are (in a place with some pretty good Indian food). One surprisingly good appetizer is the Cauliflower with Manchurian Sauce, a seemingly Chinese-inspired dish that doesn't quite fit in, but is worth ordering anyway. As for main dishes, the Lamb Pasanda and Chicken Tikka Masala both offer tender meat and flavorful, creamy curries. You should end the meal pleasantly full.

    Tabla [11 Madison Ave. (at 25th St.) 212-889-0667]
    Not your cab driver's Indian food, this high class fusion establishment will leave you wanting to come back for more. As with its sister restaurant, Eleven Madison Park, the setting is spectacularly designed and includes beautiful views of Madison Square Park. As for the food, dinner upstairs requires you to order from a Prix Fixe menu, but that still leaves you with plenty of mouth-watering options (although it will set you back a pretty penny). The Tabla Crab Cake is fantastic, with the avocado giving it a nice flavor and the papadum "bowl" making for a clever presentation. As for main courses, I found my Baby Pig to be extremely tasty and the Elysian Fields Lamb and Black Sea Bass were also delicious. No dish was an Indian standard, but each one certainly had Indian influence and flavoring. I highly recommend a visit, and for a more Indian (and cheaper) menu, check out the Tabla Bread Bar downstairs.