Best Indian restaurants in NYC
Beyond the requisite chicken tikka masala (one of the best we’ve had), dishes delight at every turn at this stunning spin-off of the Flatiron District's Tamarind. But the most consistent pleasures come out of the twin tandoor ovens, visible from the main dining room: superlative lamb chops that are tangy, spicy and tender, and moist sea bass slathered with thick yogurt and a subtle blend of roasted spices that enriches the flaky fish without overwhelming its delicate flavor.
Indian Accent at Le Parker Meridien New York is the first international outpost of Rohit Khattar and celebu-chef Manish Mehrotra’s South Delhi blockbuster, previously India’s sole representative on the S. Pellegrino list of world’s best restaurants. On looks alone, Indian Accent edges closer to fine-dining than fun-loving, all inoffensive grays and sculptural plating—the only similitude of Indian flash is one gold-leafed wall—and its menu is stuffily organized into prix-fixe options and a chef’s tasting menu. But then arrives an amuse bouche of warm naan imbued with, what is that, blue cheese? Yes, it’s a funky core of sharp Danish blue. Amuse, indeed.
Babu Ji, a south Melbourne import from husband-and-wife team Jessi and Jennifer Singh (from Chandigarh and New York City, respectively), is comfortably middlebrow. There’s a reasonably priced tasting menu, a thoughtful wine list but also a fend-for-yourself beer fridge. Silver-haired dadimas are parked on sleek black banquettes next to ball-capped millennials as taken with ’gramming the meal as eating it. And those picturesque plates are heartily accessible but more pristinely garnished than your hole-in-the-wall curry house.
Designed by the film-set decorator and Wes Anderson collaborator Kris Moran, the space is a circus for the senses. A Monday night feels like a Saturday, buzzing with the din of voracious crowds chasing crunchy, chickpea-battered onion rings or stir-fried chicken and chilies. Naan is the gateway drug—puffed, buttery and pocked with char—but the kulchas, pillowy griddled flatbreads stuffed with chicken and split chickpeas or bacon and cheese, are the truly dangerous addiction.
Don't save this one for your Instagram. Sloppy, mushy but downright delicious, the large plate of rice comes with your choice of three authentic Indian vegetarian options, such as chana masala (chickpeas) and saag paneer (creamed spinach) for a cheap meal.
The heart and soul of this luxe Chelsea eatery is its glassed-in spice room, where the team hand-grinds and mixes house blends each morning. Seven whole spices, including star anise, cloves and cardamom pods, are deployed in a pungent, burgundy-hued curry that coats a lamb shank, slow-braised until the meat nearly slides from the bone. Other evidence of the room’s sorcery fills the region-hopping menu, organized by traditional methods of Indian cooking—not just tandoor and handi (pot cooking) but also tawa (cast-iron), sigri (fire pit) and patthar (stone).
Specializing in phal, a habanero curry that’s popular along London’s Brick Lane restaurant row, Curry House issues a how-hot-can-you-go challenge to every diner. The nine types of curry are ranked by burn level. Because the menu warns that phal, the hottest, is “more pain and sweat than flavor,” nonasbestos palates should go with gentle but bouncy jalfrazi sauce, which is excellent over lamb.
Consider it yet another spin in NYC’s revolving-door restaurant scene: When Tapestry shuttered in March in the West Village, owner Roni Mazumdar was quick to put another modern Indian restaurant in its place. The restaurateur tapped Junoon alum Chintan Pandya to reinterpret regional Indian food with local New York ingredients: Bhuna bhutta features corn on the cob dressed with reduced whey and turmeric; a dish of corn bread, mustard greens and jaggery butter plays on saag roti; and a shepherd’s pie nods to the subcontinent with ground lamb and cumin potato mash.
The region-hopping bill of fare includes a robust selection of seafood and vegetarian dishes. The restaurant takes its name from a city in the northeastern state of Uttar Pradesh, an area known for its veggie-based specialties. Of the latter, we loved the lauki ka kofta, hearty green-squash dumplings smothered in cumin-laced paneer and a buttery, tomato-based makhani sauce.
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