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Are there ANY good Indian restaurants in Jackson Heights (or anywhere else)???

b
Brian S Sep 20, 2005 02:01 PM

I seem to have the Midas touch in reverse. Whenever I find a really good Indian restaurant -- and I use the term broadly, to encompass the entire Indian subcontinent -- it closes. Tabaq, Mina's, Grameen, Student Biryani, all wonderful food vibrant with fresh spices... and all closed. Tabaq now houses a travel agent, Grameen a Chinese place, Student Biryani sells Halal pizza. And all those places in Jackson Heights that dish out precooked glop from a steam table and pop it in a microwave live long and prosper. Does anyone know of a reataurant as good as those four, preferably which cooks its food to order, in the Jackson Heights area or anywhere else (preferably closer than Iselin, NJ)? I'd be especially interested in a restaurant like Tabaq, which had a style of cooking I'd never encountered before, called balti or tawa, which features a huge wok and freshly ground spices. And yes, Tangra Masala is a lot like that, especially if you order your food dry, no gravy, but I'm not looking for Halal Chinese. (And I know about all the established places on 74th Av, such as Jackson Diner, etc etc)
By the way I spent a year in India and was less than thrilled by the food. (Although I was so charmed by everything else that I didn't care.) I suspect that the best Indian cooking is to be found in private houses.

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  1. d
    david sprague Sep 20, 2005 02:17 PM

    have you checked out ambassador 21, which is on broadway in jackson heights -- in the old Sajna space? They have a large number of tawa/balti dishes that I find to be as good as the stuff that Tabaq served up. It's a little more expensive than most of the places in the 'hood, but I think it's worth it. Here's a link to their website -- which, unfortunately, doesn't have a menu on it, but does offer a mission statement of sorts...

    http://www.ambassadorcuisine.com/abou...

    3 Replies
    1. re: david sprague
      b
      Brian S. Sep 20, 2005 06:13 PM

      Thanks. I've passed by Ambassador 21 and thought, it's a bit pricey, I'll wait until someone recommends it before trying it. Now maybe I will.
      Here's a photo of food cooked on a tawa, for those who haven't seen it:

      Image: http://www.mushroom-uk.com/media_imag...

      1. re: Brian S.
        p
        pancun187 Nov 1, 2007 11:53 PM

        it is now roti boti. it is horrible

        1. re: pancun187
          welle Nov 2, 2007 08:53 AM

          i disagree. it's probably one of the best hot steam table ones in JH. They make food in small batches. At least the one that's in the former Ambassador 21 location. I used to frequent the location across the street, but tried this one a week ago and liked it. My BF had goat curry and I had saag (palak?) paneer with chicken. Nicely spiced, portions are huge. The owner came couple of times to our table to check on how we were doing. We split a naan (they're fresh from the oven and huge), and took half of our food home. The bill came to $16. The business was brisk between diners and take out orders, so the steam tables kept replenished with fresh food, which is a good news. And it was a weeknight.
          If you're dining in a group they do cook to order I think. There was a big group of young indians and the waiter brought out from the kitchen a big sizzling skillet of some chicken curry. Looked really good.

    2. l
      lotsanivanh Sep 20, 2005 04:50 PM

      it is far removed from just about everything, but of all places in riverdale there is a great indian restaurant called cumin. their apps are a little weak, really only like their banana pakoras for an app, but all else is quite good. particularly love their mushroom soup (basically great mulligatawny w/ fresh sliced mushrooms), chicken vindaloo xxhot, and their raita is the best raita i've had. like i said, cumin is not so convenient in location, but if you are nearby definitely worth it.

      5 Replies
      1. re: lotsanivanh
        b
        Brian S Sep 20, 2005 06:57 PM

        Thanks, but it's on Johnson Av and 235 Street... just too far afield. I used to go a lot to the South Bronx, but this is far even from that.

        1. re: lotsanivanh
          s
          Striver Sep 21, 2005 11:17 AM

          Cumin is a perfectly decent neighborhood Indian place, but I don't think it's worth a detour. BTW, the chicken liver/poori app is very good.

          1. re: Striver
            l
            lotsanivanh Sep 21, 2005 07:49 PM

            i agree, maybe not worth a detour. like i said it's far from anything. but it is very good food. is the chicken liver/poori app a new selection? don't remember ever seeing that.

            1. re: lotsanivanh
              s
              Striver Sep 22, 2005 01:03 PM

              Yes, as far as I know it's been available since they opened - the actual name on the menu is "kolitcha puri" or something like that. We almost always order it when we eat thereand it's consistently good.

          2. re: lotsanivanh
            f
            furryabdul Sep 21, 2005 01:10 PM

            i heard the jackson diner is supposed to be very good asalam alekum abdul :)

            Link: http://www.jacksondiner.com/

          3. s
            Saira Oct 7, 2005 10:32 AM

            My favorite indian resturant in Jackson heights is Delhi palace...and their lunch buffet is the BESTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

            1. Brian S Nov 2, 2007 08:27 AM

              As long as you've resurrected my old post, here are three neat places I've visited last month. The first of them is basically Grameen reborn.

              www.chowhound.com/topics/447501

              www.chowhound.com/topics/440038

              www.chowhound.com/topics/448517

              2 Replies
              1. re: Brian S
                j
                JFores Nov 2, 2007 08:33 AM

                What happened to Mina's?

                1. re: JFores
                  Brian S Nov 2, 2007 09:11 AM

                  It's still doing fine. I haven't been lately, I must go!

              2. r
                Richard S Nov 23, 2007 09:49 PM

                Have you tried Al-Naimat? It's on 74th Street, right near 37th Ave. I think they have very good chicken masala and possibly the best lassis in New York. They're also far cheaper than Jackson Diner, and I think they have a good rep for their sweets (because there are often long lines for that - though that's not why I go there). Also, if you go there to get takeout (which is what I usually do), then while you're waiting, you can walk just a couple of doors down and look at some bhangra and bollywood CDs. I like to do that.

                I actually live closer to Mina's, but I don't care for their food so much - my experience has been that it's pretty mild for Indian food, not much of a kick to it. And the menu situation is confusing - two different menus, much more expensive if you eat in than if you take out? (That was my experience.)

                1 Reply
                1. re: Richard S
                  Brian S Nov 24, 2007 06:52 AM

                  I've never tried Al-Naimat although I must have walked by it a hundred times or more, and each time I think, that place looks interesting, I really should try it. Maybe now I will... though lately I go to Deshi around the corner.
                  www.chowhound.com/topics/447501

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