Restaurants, Indian Midtown
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Photograph: Courtesy Pongal

If you’re used to North Indian fare, the casually elegant Pongal will fill in a few blanks with dishes from the South. Staff at this kosher vegetarian spot provide a brief culinary geography lesson and realistically assess how scorching the “hot spices” really are. Condiments are exceptional, superfresh, and ideal for dipping the idli (steamed rice cakes) and medu vada (lentil doughnuts). The dosa are big and finely seasoned. The truly great tuver baingan has refreshingly unmushy eggplant, pigeon peas and an unforgettable bite that just might bring you back for more.


Venue name: Pongal
Address: 110 Lexington Ave
New York
Cross street: between 27th and 28th Sts
Opening hours: Mon–Fri noon–3pm, 5–10pm; Sat, Sun noon–10pm
Transport: Subway: 6 to 28th St
Price: Average main course: $10. DC, Disc, MC, V
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