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Dhamaka
Photograph: Adam Friedlander

This new restaurant in Essex Market will transport you to Bollywood

Dhamaka, by the duo behind acclaimed Adda and Rahi, offers the kind of Indian food you've never had before.

By
Anna Rahmanan
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Indian food is a-plenty in New York, but new restaurant Dhamaka delights in novel ways by offering the sort of fare that folks could until now only taste when traveling deep into India.

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Found inside the new Essex Market on the Lower East Side, the eatery is owned by Chintan Pandya and Roni Mazumdar, the duo behind two other Indian destinations, Adda in Long Island City and Rahi in the West Village.

Warning: at Dhamaka, you won't be tasting the sort of ethnic fare that has delighted you on Curry Row until now. Instead, as the restaurant's official website indicates, you'll be delving into "the other side of India, the forgotten side of India." 

Dhamaka
Photograph: Adam Friedlander

Appetizer standouts include the gurda kapoora (goat kidney and testicles with red onion and pao) and all three vegetarian options: papdi chaat (spiced crisps, tamarind and yogurt), beguni (eggplant, turmeric, kasundi) and ragda pattice (potato patty, white pea and green chili). 

Straight off the grill, you can opt for lasooni prawns (tiget prawns, roasted garlic and black better), the goat belly seekh (cilantro, coriander seeds and garam masala) or the ajwani paneer tikka with cumin and carom, among other options.

Dhamaka
Photograph: Will Ellis

But it is the roster of mains that we'd like to call your attention to: in addition to the likes of macher jhol (baby shark, turmeric, ginger and tomatoes) and gobi keema (cauliflower, ginger and asafoetida), the gastronomical gurus serve a $190 rajasthani khargosh dish that needs to be pre-ordered via email at least 48 hours in advance. The visually striking whole rabbit, served with yogurt and cloves, is apparently popularly consumed during hunting season in Rajasthan, a state in northwestern India.

One more note: you're expected to eat with your hands here, just as they traditionally do in India, using perfectly-baked paratha bread to soak up every inch of flavor in your metal plate. 

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If you're not convinced yet (are you crazy?), just scroll through the eatery's Instagram feed to see what a reservation will give you access to. The best part? Upon entering the premises, you'll feel like you've traveled to India, even amid a global pandemic... and who doesn't need a vacation these days?

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