Saturday, April 15, 2006


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Bawarchi [1149 First Ave. (at 63rd St.) 212-371-3535 (See 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.

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.

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