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Unbelievable Indian find in Westchester

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  • Douglas Harriman Jan 21, 2006 04:20 PM
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It's called "Westchester Grocery,"(546 Commerce Street, Thornwood,) and it's actually Pakistani, but has some of the best Indian-like food I have ever tasted. The spices are strong yet delicate---The kind of spicy that doesn't hit you until long after you've tasted the food, but then it really hits you.

The family who runs it speak no English, but you can point to pre-made trays behind a counter, and they don't mind giving you tastes(The store is a bodega that sells indian spices and is completely out of place in its mid-westchester location.)

I often get the Chicken Mahkni, which is similiar to Chicken Tikka Masala, but there's food there that I can't pronounce the name but is unbelieveably good.

The Chicken Tikka is excellent, as is the barbecued lamb sausage.

The other thing is it's incredibly cheap. Most of the dishes cost under $4.

I have been reading chowhound for years, but have never made a post. I thought this was such a terrific discovery that it required a mention.

I feel very lucky to have found it.

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  1. d
    Deborah Davidson

    Sounds good. Can you eat in, or is it take out? Is it like a salad bar, where you assemble your own meal? Is there a good selection of vegetarian dishes? Thanks for the info.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Deborah Davidson
      d
      Douglas Harriman

      It has a few tables, but it's really a take-out place...They make about five dishes a day. At least one is usually vegetarian. But since they are Pakistani, I wouldn't say that's their specialty. In fact they make some beef dishes, which is sort of interesting.

      The chicken Tikka, nan, and barbecued sausages are cooked to order in a Tandoori oven, but all the rest is pre-made. I usually call ahead since those items take at least fifteen minutes to cook.

      1. re: Douglas Harriman

        barbecued sausages?!

        you don't mean seekh kababs, do you?

        1. re: Douglas Harriman

          Thanks so much. I read your post and checked it out last night. What great flavors and true use of the Tandoor oven. Great food at great prices. I will return again and again. Bridget

      2. this place is great. thanks for the tip. they have had 3 vegetarian dishes every time ive been there.

        1. How can you tell what each dish is if they do not speak English? Are there signs? I have dietary restrictions, don't want to get stuck with something I can't eat.

          PS thanks for posting this. I actually get Chinese takeout from Spring Garden on the same street (near the post office). And a new Italian bakery recently opened and I had a couple of pastries from there that were good and reasonably priced). What the heck is it about Thornwood lately???

          1. Stopped by tonight to get something for dinner. New person behind the counter. Apparently the original owners have just sold the market. New owners speaks English although he didn't seem that familiar with the food or maybe he didn't think I would know the names of the dishes. They still have the same cook and my dinner was delicious and inexpensive. Hope the cook doesn't leave.

            5 Replies
            1. re: SLO

              Any updates on this place? Still in action? Don't want to make the trip for naught!

              1. re: manipson

                Yup, it's still in action. Stopped by on President's Day, they were closed but the owners were inside, and they let me in and let me look around. I will definitely be going there soon to actually try the food. They did give me a generous free sample of some sort of dessert, it had carrots and nuts in it, tasted sort of like carrot cake. It was delicious, and if that's any indication, then I can't wait to try the food!

                1. re: Solstice444

                  I went there to today. The ownership changed earlier this year and now it's called Khan's Indian Kitchen. Last time I was there about 6-7 months ago, ordering was done by hand gestures. Now they have an easy to read menu and the woman behind the counter spoke near perfect English!! She said they did some work on decorating but it was mostly window dressing. They did clean up the place and make it more welcome. The food taste great as before. I had to try the chicken tikka because it was one of the best I've ever had. This time it was just as juicy and flavorful as I had remembered it. I also had the veggies and pakora. Only regret is it's not that close to where I live.

                  1. re: pabboy

                    I posted this elsewhere before I found this thread.

                    I had their Goat garam masala yesterday and really liked it a lot. I got a takeout order and heated it up later for dinner. Usually goat dishes are a nuisance because the goat is chopped into small pieces with sharp pieces of bone all over. This version was goat double rib chops on the bone. Very tender and tasty. They also made up some fresh baked Naan for me.

                    They aren't a restaurant but if you live within a short drive it's worth checking out and the prices are very reasonable. The goat was $6 for 4 chops and tons of sauce. The naan were $1 each. I wished they were closer, I just happened to be in the area and had there address in my car food file.

                    The outside sign is the same and still says westchester Grocery, but I saw a sign inside and their new name is Kahns Indian Kitchen.

                  2. re: Solstice444

                    Oooo that's Carrot Halva.. (it may have other names, too) if they make that, I"m going there TODAY! Not many places make that dessert.. and the regular food sounds wonderful as well.. yum!

              2. Just got some food from Westchester Grocery ... It is wonderful. The chicken tikka is spicy, tender and full of flavor. Got a Tandori fish (fresh caught porgy) which, apart from the bones, is also delicious.

                AND the people who own it are so nice. I was quite happy to see the restaurant part (not really a restaurant, area with a few tables and chairs on the side of the market) filled with families.

                Please Please check this out. I wouldn't want anything to happen to this great Westchester find.

                2 Replies
                1. re: SLO

                  After driving past this place I don't know how many times, I finaly stopped in last week. I picked up some samosas to go, they were great and a real bargain at 50c each. I also picked up their menu, which I am posting here. The menu does not seem to be as readable as I'd like. Not my fault, the scan is good, blame Chowhound.

                   
                   
                  1. re: MisterBill2

                    Thanks for posting the menu! It sounds great! I'll head over there soon to check it out!

                2. in mt kisco, there is a very relaxed and nice place called passage to india.

                  in brewster there is a great place called jaipore. weekend buffet

                  1. I've been to Khan's (note: the New York Times article I found online misspelled the name as "Kahn's") a few times now and I am so happy that I found the vote of confidence for it here on CH. The woman at the counter is a doll, and the food is cheap and GREAT. You definitely can't go looking for any atmosphere whatsoever, but last time I got curry chicken, rice, a samosa, and a naan all for under $10 (generous portions too!). Forget Ambadi! We usually spend about $40 there-- might as well go to a formal Indian restaurant. This is my new go-to for Indian takeout.

                    1. Absolutely loved this little place. The flavors were great, the tandoor oven makes all the difference. The price is right and i will be back many times. Thanks for the tip. BridgetC

                      1. Tried this place out with my GF last night. Here's what we got:

                        Lamb chaplai (sp?) kebab: Seasoned ground lamb flattened into a large patty and barbecued. Fantastic, just exploded with flavor - cumin, chili pepper, etc. And at $3.50, a steal.

                        Chicken tandoori leg: An enormous piece that stayed moist and flavorful even after reheating. A bargain at $3.

                        Lamb curry: Chunks of lamb on the bone in a spicy - subtle, not incendiary - gravy flavored with cardamom and bay leaves. $6.

                        Vegetable curry: Little dumplings of vegetables in a thick, yellow gravy spiked with black mustard seeds and a hint of lemon. My GF loved this dish. $4.

                        We also had a dish of chick peas with long slices of tomato in a slightly sweet gravy that was our least favorite of what we had, but still good. $4.

                        Combine this with a couple of pieces of bread and rice and the total bill was $27, with plenty of leftovers. An astounding bargain, on par with any of the great, cheap Chinese places in NYC.

                        I can't recommend this place highly enough. Doesn't have as extensive a menu as Ambadi, but the food is much better. And I like Ambadi.

                        1. After reading about this thread a few days ago, I went to try it today! I've been in the area for a decade and have never heard of it. It's fantastic! The other (newer) commentors are right - the girl cashier is fluent in enlgish and they have a little white board that serves as the menu. My mom & I ordered 3 samosa's (at 75 cents a piece), a vegatable curry, a chicken masala and some nann to go. Total came out to be just under $14. Of the 2/3 tables available, they were all taken up by local Indians. There was some other people ordering take-out, I kept wonder if it could be anyone from here :) The food was delishish, especially for the price, this is a GREAT find - I never would've discovered it in a million years. Thanks!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: snowjewelz

                            I have been to the Grocery a few times now between noon and 2pm weekdays. On every visit the place was packed. Difficult to find a parking space outside. Inside, a group of local Indian men took up two of the four of five tables each time I visited! These guys order just about everything on the menu and stay for quite a long lunch. Finding a table can be an exercise in patience. Once, I was actually able to eat in and enjoyed a few standard vegetarian dishes, especially the homemade samosas which were delicious. Owners need to hire more help and increase the number of available tables. Prices are reasonable, considering that the food has a homemade simplicity. Don't overlook the Mango and assorted fruit drinks available in the refrigerated section at the side of the store.

                            1. re: budinado

                              Does this place deliver? I saw a link online with cater-waiter, not sure if its the same place, there is no address and it's spelled "Kahns."