Thu Nov 15 2007
Photograph: Jeff Gurwin
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5
For his Fox reality series, Kitchen Nightmares, British chef and enfant terrible Gordon Ramsay gave this once-dismal spot—formerly the casual pub Dillons—an extreme makeover. He removed its tacky LED sign; tapped Vikas Khanna, the former executive chef of Salaam Bombay, to oversee its freshly minted Indian menu; and dispatched a team of interior designers to class up the digs with spanking-new furniture and decor. But what ended with hugs and happy diners on TV doesn’t necessarily translate into an unmitigated success in reality. When we stopped by on a Saturday night, a handful of diners were scattered in the butter-yellow dining room, which had as much personality as its midtown environs (i.e., none). However, we were pleasantly surprised when we spotted heartthrob toque Khanna chatting up the few patrons. Our Nepalese waiter was equally charming, apologizing that he didn’t speak “American” when reciting the specials. While starters of chicken samosas, chicken tikka and shish kebabs, and the three-course prix fixe’s appetizer of curried cauliflower didn’t surpass 6th Street fare, an entrée of fish munia impressed us with tender hunks of tilapia luxuriating in an aromatic saffron-spiked cashew gravy. Unfortunately, a gingery portion of rack of lamb—also part of the prix fixe—was slightly dry and hardly memorable. A tasty complimentary palate cleanser of mixed-berry sorbet in a tangy yogurt soup and the homemade mango kulfi, just-sweet-enough Indian ice cream, along with the bargain $28 prix fixe, should keep diners—whether they’re fans of Ramsay’s or not—tuning in for more.