Ramadan at Kasturi
- Alan Divack
To follow on Allan's post about Ramadan places,
Kasturi, a Bengali cafeteria at 83 Lexington, the south
end of the Indian strip, serves Ifftar (sp??) the
Ramadan evening break fast.
Disclaimers: I have never eaten there in the evening,
and it has been about two years since I was there,
which was at lunchtime also during Ramadan. (So frum
they're not.) Signs were posted at the time that they
The food is very good, and some things excellent, esp.
the breads and unusual vegetable dishes. They are also
the only place that I have found in NY so far that
serves real Bengali fish -- I have had a wonderful
eelish in mustard paste.
I hope that some chowhound out there will try it and
I go there all the time--for takeout. Probably my fave restaurant in NY or queens. One of the few (only) bengali restos in Manhattan. All the others are owned and staffed by Bangla deshis and cook Delhi food! (Except I haven't tried Mina).
My famous calcutta sitarist guest loved their food and requests it any time he is here. BUT--it is the major hangout of the Bangla deshi cabdrivers union and...low on the charm factor. Once I walked in and they were having some kind of union meeting with a slate of officials and speeches. I just walked right through between the speechmakers and the audience and got my torkari, mach, dal and mishti. (Get the lal doi if they have it.)
re: Brian S
Sorry, Brian, thats just not true. Mina cooks Bangla muslim food - there is a lot of commonality in muslim dishes across the subcontinent, for example they eat halim and nihari in pakistan,bengal, hyderabad and old delhi, I guess, but she also cooks specifically bangla region dishes - everyone who complains about the mustard oil in her baingan bharta or eats a fish dish is witness to that. Its true there are other indian standards on the menu but I wouldnt call them "delhi".
re: jen kalb
as an indian, it amazes me to think people think of food as delhi food. each region/state in india has it's own uniquely different food and new yorkers get to see a few common types like north indian or south indian.
to understnad the diversity of indian food,
try a dosa (the mother of crepes,try a paper plain one,its big)
or a kati roll (kati roll company 99 mcdougal,its the mother of all wraps.period)
try a hyderabad biryani (chicken or lamb)
try a pav bhaji (indian bread served with a side of mashed potato and tomato sauce in spices) served with fresh cut onions and sprinked with lime juice.delicious
try a south indian thali.
research these wherever u live and find the places that serve them
We know, we know, we just dont' know where to find it. People rush to Jersey City chasing a few Gujarati snacks, or to the Nassau county line chasing rumors of food from Kerala. Yes, you can get kati rolls or South Indian dosas, maybe some Bombay chat or a veg thali at Saravannas. As for a Hyderabad dum biryani, the kind cooked in a clay pot sealed with dough...I'd travel for that. Most places seem to serve those heavy creamy Mughlai sauces like that English invention, chicken tikka masala (which is very good, by the way)
re: Ami bangla jani na
so glad you like it! Ive posted about it several times (actually it was written up in Jim Leff's first book, but its gone through a few name changes over the years - isnt it now called Shipa Kasturi Pavilion ? - same nice people, same good fish, including hilsa, meat and veg dishes.
re: jen kalb
Thanks! ! I will try Cafe Jhil, after I hotfoot it over to Mina's new place. One more thing about Shilpi Kasturbi or whatever--I had some bangladeshi food in Jackson Heights in a place whose name I forget. But it suffered from the dreaded Indian veggies--cooked--to--death syndrome. Kasturbi's veggies are MUCH fresher.
I have serious Calcutta food nostalgia issues. I get a big kick out of these discussions. Here's a question: anyone know a really good mithai place? Like in Calcutta?
re: Brian S
Rajbhog is ok, but I really like the fake Alauddin (next to the bldg with the fake Aarong), which tastes as Bangladeshi as it gets if it's not homemade or not back home. The shondesh there are decent, cham-cham arent so sugary that you feel the crystals under your teeth, plus the tea is thick and creamy from the constant jaal.
Thanks for the suggestion. I have tried about five sweet shops in the JH area and found nothing great.
I hustled out to Minas after joining chowhound for the first time. I spent a lot of time in Calcutta and I DROOL over bengali food--Ilish mach, plain old bengali rice and dal, anything made with panch phoron, lal doi--don't get me started.
VERY disappointed at Spicy Minas. My friends' chicken curries --I think--had cornstarch in them. (!) And they certainly didn't taste like the bengali food I know and love. Only the sag ponir was any good. The fried dal was yuck. I couldn't care less how long the wait was--I would just as soon not have had that food at all. Only the samosa chaat and the lal doi was any good. I'll go back to Shilpi Kasturbi and stay there. And in fact, good old Curry In a Hurry makes better food than that. (Their biriani--when fresh --is quite good)
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Ami bangla jani na Feb 13, 2007