Can a fancy, elegant Indian restaurant have good food?
Yep. If it's Shaan.
On a night where our destination restaurant was closed for a private party (I hate when this happens), we went to Shaan, at nearby 48th (between fifth and sixth).
Next to Mavalli Palace, Shaan is easily my favorite Indian restaurant in Manhattan. Their shrimp Jeerza appetizer is superb, and is big enough to serve as an entree for the unfamished. Generally, the lamb and shrimp dishes are always dependable at Shaan, and I tried a lamb with yogurt and chilis. Excellent, althoug not quite up to the appetizer. Their onion kulcha is also superb.
This is one of the best places to have a business meal in Manhattan. In the main room, the tables are spread farther apart than just about any restaurant I can think of, and the service is unobtrusive.
Yep, you pay for the privilege. A big meal will set you back $40 with a beer or two and tip (less expensive meal, perhaps $25). But they accept Transmedia (thank you, New York Times). And at least on this trip, they seem to have lost the live music. Anyone else hate live music when eating?