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6th St Indian

Just curious what everyone's favorite on this block is.

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    1. re: Nina_P

      Have you tried the phaal? If so, is it really that spicy? I've debating going there for the challenge, but I can't bring myself to pay so much for Indian food that's the same quality as a Punjabi curry hut which charges $8 for the same.

      1. re: JungMann

        It's spicier than vindaloo, but not outrageously so. I was there with a few people, so we shared dishes. I liked it, but I wouldn't have wanted to eat the whole dish myself. And a raita or lassi helps!

      2. re: Nina_P

        I was taken to Brick Lane a few years ago for my birthday. Horrible service and dumbed down food. It seems the trend in Indian food in NYC is to remove any attempt at spicing and replace it with butter and oil. I'll stick with more traditional stuff. I like Haveli a lot although I don't love it.

      3. I like this place called "Sonar" or it might be "Sonar _____" It's really cheap and the food isn't that bad. They usually have tons of Christmas lights everywhere... don't ask it's just so cheap!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Saldb

          Sonar Gaon. Fantastic place and very friendly waitstaff.

        2. Mitali. Been going there since high school in the 70's.

          1. I like "Indian Taj"--it's the best of the cheapies.
            Make sure to ask to see the dinner special menu. for less than 8 bucks you get really good soup, an appetizer, an entree, rice, bread and condiments.

            Actually, the soup is the best part, like a rich fragrant tomato broth sprinkled with fried garlic. They have really good classic condiments--the red onions, mint, and tamarind and leave them out for your entire meal. The bread is also always really fresh and home-made tasting.
            It's not an Indian food revelation, but the quality tastes better than at the other neighboring cheap options.

              1. re: LeahBaila

                Second that. I tried one of the cheap Indian places on the block (Rose of India - don't know if it's there anymore), thinking that they couldn't be much different from Banjara. Ugh - everything was swimming in oil. Since then, I've stayed away from all of the cheap places. If I had to go to a cheap place, my pick would be Panna II.

              2. I've been going to Sonali for 25 years. The food is very good, and the prices are cheap.

                1. My brother and I have a theory that all those places on share one common kitchen in the basement and just serve it in different storefronts. By the way, very few of them are actually owned/run but Indians - mostly guys from Pakistan and Bangladesh - which is why the food ain't so great.

                  Stick to Banjara and Brick Lane. More money, but worth it.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: scarlet starlet

                    The "one kitchen" thing is a pretty old theory that I've heard for years now...hah.

                    1. re: kathryn

                      I'm surprised it took this long into the thread for the "one kitchen" myth to rear its spicy head. I like Sonali and Panna.

                      1. re: fsd1116

                        its unspicy head, rather. all those cheapo places are bland as!

                    2. re: scarlet starlet

                      I don't get it - why don't they just open Pakistani and Bangladeshi restaurants?

                      1. re: scarlet starlet

                        Actually, the old-time "common kitchen" places are to the best of my knowledge all owned and run by people from the city of Sylhet in Bangladesh. There was a New York Times article that made that assertion several years ago. For the record, about 20 years ago, Mitali East was what passed for a "good" Indian restaurant in this neighborhood, though it was never a good idea to order shrimp there (too old-tasting), but I over the years found all the old-time places truly egregious in their overuse of oil and ghee. On that block, Banjara is presumably the clear winner, though I never felt impelled to go back to Brick Lane after trying the phaal - which I felt was problematic not so much because of its spiciness (which I found considerable!) but, again, the oil - so I can't make a fair comparison. (By the way, like racer x, I've had my own problems with service at Banjara, and though the food is better there, I still find they overuse the ghee and oil, a common problem in New York Indian restaurants.) My favorite Indian restaurant in the area, by far, is Madras Cafe, a South Indian vegetarian restaurant not on 6th St. but on 2nd Av. between 4th and 5th. I've never found Haveli, slightly south of 6th on 2nd Av., impressive.

                        1. re: scarlet starlet

                          That's so funny!! Could be true, who knows? lol Brick Lane is actually quite good for the vegetarian set (which is us).

                        2. Before moving to Queens for a year, I used to visit E6th fairly often for lower-priced South Asian food (and places on E58th when I was in the mood to lay out more money). I haven't been back to E.6th in a while. But ...

                          In recent years, I used to frequent Spice Cove, where I could always expect a good meal with friendly and attentive service. I also liked the decor, considering the prices; the lighting is low, in contrast to the Christmas-lights glitter that was the hallmark of several places on E6th in the past, but not so low that you can't see what's on your plate (also a problem at some of the other Curry Row places).

                          Haveli, on 2nd Ave just around the corner from E.6th, also has been a dependable place in the past, with slightly higher-quality decor and presentation of meals (and slightly-higher prices) than the rest of the gang.

                          Food at Banjara was variably good. Sometimes very good, oftentimes nothing special. On several visits, however, service was poor (needlessly long waits, servers forgetting to bring things, needing to be reminded several times to bring the check, etc), which detracted from the lure of a menu that includes several dishes not available at the other restaurants nearby.

                          Mitali East used to be a favorite 10 yrs ago, but food and service just haven't been up to snuff in the past few years.

                          Tried Brick Lane a couple of times. Seemed outrageously overpriced for what they offer in terms of food (admittedly more stylish setting than many of the rest, though, if that's what you're looking for).

                          1. By the way, does anyone have any idea whatever became of Mainland India, which briefly occupied the space that had previously been Mitali West in the West Village (near corner of Bleecker and 7th Ave)? It brought tears to my eyes (figuratively speaking) to learn they had closed. Did the owner(s) open any other place in NYC?

                            1. I second Haveli. I asked for a truly hot Vindaloo there and it was really good. My first bite told me I'd be weeping a bit throughout the curry. It was the best Vindaloo I've had in a long time. Nothing is sadder than dumbed down curries that are meant to be prepared with a lot of heat. The garlic naan rocked, too.