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Indian in the E. 50's (Ada, Chola, Amma, Dawat, Mint, et al)?

Are any of these places worth it? They seem much more expensive than our stand-bys in Gramercy (Chennai Garden, Pongal), the couple of places we like in the East Village, and certainly Jackson Heights (we live in Queens). I've always been curious about the "higher-end" places in the E. 50's - are they remarkably better, or maybe just a little better and a lot more expensive, or none of the above?
thx
bt

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  1. I used to frequent Ada years ago, back when I used to spend more time in that 'hood. I can't speak to its recent state, but back then the food was absolutely delicious (if overpriced)... I liked the modern atmosphere, though we were almost always the only ones there, and the service was attentive and gracious, if a little bit formal.

    Chola did not seem as fancy, nor as expensive, but the food was very good.

    I'd be curious to know what more up-to-date diners think.

    You might be better off leaving the neighborhood and heading to Devi.

    I'm ebarrassed to say this, but I have yet to find a non-fancy Indian joint (in this city, anyway) whose food rises above "pretty good. "

    1 Reply
    1. re: Yaqo Homo

      For non-fancy Indian whose food rises above pretty good you'll need to go to someone's house!

    2. I heard Amma was great by multiple neighbors, but we aren't huge Indian fans, so I don't know.

      1. There is a new Sino-Indian place named I-Chin on East 50th that I am planning to try..it looks really nice. I had a great meal at Amma when they opened but I think they changed chefs at least once...they had a big-name chef at one point...

        3 Replies
        1. re: erica

          Just looked at their menu on menupages.com; looks good. If you go in for Desi Chinese, I recommend Tangra Masala in Elmhurst (Queens) - (but not the second Tangra in Sunnyside). Excellent paneer chili, among other things. It's a lot cheaper than I-Chin too.

          1. re: erica

            Chinese Mirch is better than I-Chin - same people, diff nabe.

            1. re: erica

              Have enjoyed lunch at I Chin twice and like it, more things I still
              want to try. But vegetarians beware, limited offerings for you.

            2. Chola is very good. It's not even that expensive. Great weekend brunch buffet w/ extras brought to your table.

              1. I was at Dawat a few months ago and wasn't particularly impressed. I admit that most of the time when I want Indian I go to Brick Lane or somewhere on 6th ave since it's closer to me, so I guess I can't say I'm particularly experienced. I thought the food was better prepared/presented and had a better flavor, but not all THAT much better. I would be interested to hear other's opinions who have more experience than me. Thoughts?

                1. I also agree that Dawat isn't that good. Overpriced ($6 for plain rice!!) with uninspired cooking and timid flavoring. I am going to Chola tomorrow so I'll know by then - at least its buffet quality.
                  Ada is pricy too, and I only been there once, but I went for its lunch special, which is a great deal. The food was very fresh and everything complement together well. I would definitely go back there if I had time on weekdays.
                  I agree that it's hard to find stellar Indian in Manhattan. They serve too many generic dishes for my taste. I much prefer real home cooking. Now that's good stuff.

                  1. Dawat has seen better days. Chola is quite good.

                    Here's what I wrote about Chola's buffet:

                    The block of 58th Street between 2nd & 3rd Avenue is home to at least four Indian restaurants, the stalwart Dawat being the oldest of the group. The buffet lunch I had at Chola last month was far superior to my recent Dawat dinner. Chola is a multiregional restaurant, and the $13.95 lunch buffet is copious. In addition to the self-serve items, the waiters bring freshly cooked tandoori chicken, dosas, naan and chickpea-onion pakodas to the table. They likely vary the buffet table items daily, but there were about four or five each of vegetarian and non-veg (as they say in India). Among the most interesting items were a Kerala-style fish dish and pau bhajee, a Mumbai street specialty of spiced mashed potatoes and lentils traditionally served on western-style buns slathered with ghee. I passed on the buns and the ghee.

                    I wrote about a disappointing Dawat dinner (and a great one at Devi)in the following:

                    http://petercherches.blogspot.com/200...

                    1. I agree that Chola is quite good - have been to the buffet and order take out from there pretty regularly. Utsav is also very good - both the buffet and take-out. I find both to be far superior to 6th Street and Curry Hill spots.