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Vindaloo -- Where can I get it?

toum Oct 24, 2007 09:26 AM

I want a good vindaloo. I havent found one yet.

What are your favorite places?

  1. p
    Peter Cherches Oct 24, 2007 10:29 AM

    It's almost impossible to find a good vindaloo, since very few places (if any) make a true Goan vindaloo, which combines sweet-sour with serious hot spice, and is best with pork, as the Goan Christians eat it. In many Indian restaurants a vindaloo is generally a nondescript curry with extra spice, and in some places they get the vinegar part, but I've never found the real thing.


    11 Replies
    1. re: Peter Cherches
      toum Oct 24, 2007 10:38 AM


      That's what I have been looking for -- the real Goan variety. I am glad to know that I am not just being super picky. It has seemed to me, having spent four years in the UK, and having visisted south India, that while there is good Indian food to be had in NYC, there are certain dishes that are consistently bad. The Vindaloo is one of them.

      I heard that the Brick Lane Curry House has a good one. I might give it a try.

      What do you think of Chola, Peter? Their Vindaloo tasted good, though it was way too oily.

      1. re: toum
        Peter Cherches Oct 24, 2007 11:04 AM

        I've been to the buffet once. It was excellent.

        1. re: Peter Cherches
          vvvindaloo Oct 24, 2007 11:30 AM

          Me too- the lunch buffet at Chola is the best Indian buffet in Manhattan, IMO. As for pork vindaloo, Bombay Talkie in Chelsea serves a decent version.

          1. re: vvvindaloo
            jakew8 Oct 24, 2007 12:48 PM

            I'll vouch for the lamb vindaloo at Chola... delicious and very spicy.

            1. re: jakew8
              toum Oct 24, 2007 01:31 PM

              Thanks. Have you found it to be oily?

              1. re: toum
                jakew8 Oct 24, 2007 06:16 PM

                No, not overly oily. Chola's food is pretty rich in general (i.e., compared to cab-stand places like Punjabi on 1st and 1st), but I don't think anything they make is oily per se.

            2. re: vvvindaloo
              guttergourmet Oct 27, 2007 04:18 PM

              I also dig Chola's vindaloo. London is still superior but I had a former Goan colleague and Indian client who I took to Chola and they gave it two thumbs up.

        2. re: Peter Cherches
          JungMann Oct 25, 2007 08:20 AM

          I'm in total agreement. I don't even know where half these restaurants get off calling their dish vindaloo. I've had onion curries passed off as vindaloo and even a sweet lamb and spinach dish called vindaloo at a Bangladeshi restaurant. Typically I make pork vindaloo (no potatoes) at home to save on disappointment.

          1. re: JungMann
            toum Oct 25, 2007 08:37 AM

            One of the worst dishes I have ever eaten was the vindaloo at Swagat on Amsterdam ~80st. The sauce consisted of TONS of sugar, canned tomato paste, tamato sauce, and chili powder. What bothered wasn't so much that it wasn't the real Goan dish, but that it was disgusting.

            Ada also has a nasty vindaloo -- also made with tons of sugar.

            1. re: toum
              chow_gal Oct 25, 2007 08:59 AM

              YES!! I had that horrible Swagat vindaloo years back too! It was gelatinous, corn syrupy, tomato sauce. I wish you hadn't reminded me of that mess.

              1. re: chow_gal
                toum Oct 25, 2007 11:50 AM

                Right? You would think that the owner would have more pride -- I can't believe that he thinks that what he is serving is edible. I

                I am glad Swagat has finally dropped in the Zagat -- it used to have a very high rating for food, which I know mislead a lot of people. It has dropped to 19, which is still high given how nasty some of the dishes are.

        3. p
          Peter Cherches Oct 27, 2007 02:17 PM

          By the way, the puerco adobado at Tulcingo del Valle actually tastes closer to a Goan vindaloo than most NY Indian restaurant vindaloos.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Peter Cherches
            jakew8 Oct 27, 2007 02:24 PM

            Not an unbelievable claim since vindaloo is as much Portuguese as it is Indian. I'll have to try that.

          2. the queen Jan 15, 2008 07:12 AM

            Chola, is a great choice

            1. t
              Tynemouth1 Jan 15, 2008 08:19 AM

              Have you tried the Darbar on 46th Street. High quality curry, and they are very friendly. Give them a call and see if they make the mean vindaloo you are after.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Tynemouth1
                the queen Jan 17, 2008 11:14 AM

                Yes, I have been there and you are correct it is very good

              2. p
                Peter Cherches Aug 14, 2008 10:12 AM

                I found it! Tadka, on 53rd between 2nd & 3rd. I learned that they're connected to Chola. I ordered the lamb vindaloo lunch special. When it came I suspected good things in store when I saw the earthy red color, not the brown of most NY vindaloos. It was properly tangy and spicy, and the lamb was moist. It was served with rice and a flaky roti that though dryish had something of a flaky buttermilk biscuit thing going. Definitely the closest I've found in NY to vindaloos I've had in Goa. Maybe Chola's version is the same?

                6 Replies
                1. re: Peter Cherches
                  JungMann Aug 14, 2008 11:02 AM

                  Really? That's right around the corner from my office! I may have to go next week (already made plans for a trip to East Buffet in Flushing for tomorrow).

                  Have you tried the lamb vindaloo at Earthen Oven? I thought it was very accurate, though could use a little more vinegar and chili for my taste.

                  1. re: JungMann
                    Peter Cherches Aug 14, 2008 11:18 AM

                    Where is Earthen Oven? I work in the neighborhood too. That's an interesting block on 53rd. I frequent Marrakesh, and Suibi & Ariyoshi are both quite good for Japanese.

                    1. re: Peter Cherches
                      JungMann Aug 14, 2008 12:27 PM

                      I've avoided the block because of a few bad experiences and the general kitsch of the restaurants. I mean, a Mexican-Morrocan place???

                      Earthen Oven is on Columbus and 72nd Street. The chef is formerly of Tamarind, but is much more traditional here.

                      1. re: JungMann
                        Peter Cherches Aug 14, 2008 01:09 PM

                        I've never tried the Mexican menu at Marrakesh, but do remember that most kitchen staffs are largely Mexican and Central American--and it's probably a good way for people who eat halal to get Mexican food. Their basic Middle Eastern food is quite good and reasonably priced.

                        1. re: Peter Cherches
                          JungMann Aug 14, 2008 01:22 PM

                          I've been there but wasn't too wowed by whatever I had. To be fair, I tend not to like Morrocan cooking.

                  2. re: Peter Cherches
                    toum Aug 25, 2008 12:29 PM

                    Very interesting. I have tried Tadka's chicken vindaloo (take out) was very disappointed. It was basically tons of oil and lots of chili powder, without any complexity or balance.

                    I tried the lamb vindaloo, on the other hand, and it was a lot better. The sauce was a lot less oily, and there was a lot more to the sauce.

                  3. d
                    dhs Aug 14, 2008 12:27 PM

                    I can't say I know what a true Goan Vindaloo would be but the by far the tastiest vindaloo I have had is from an unlikely spot, the Baluchis chain. The lamb vindaloo is the same at the 2 Baluchis I have been to. A good balance of sweet, sour, savory with a nice hit of coriander (I believe). I usually ask for extra spicey and wind up hating myself the next day but it is so addictive I clean the bowl of all remnants even though my mouth is crying for mercy from the heat.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: dhs
                      JungMann Aug 14, 2008 01:05 PM

                      Try Earthen Oven or Peter's recommendation. I think it may open up a different world of vindaloodom for you.

                      1. re: JungMann
                        dhs Aug 14, 2008 01:43 PM

                        I will have to give it a whirl to see. Have you had the Baluchis version?

                        1. re: dhs
                          JungMann Aug 25, 2008 09:06 AM

                          I haven't had the Baluchi's version in years. I stopped going there once I discovered the other options I had.

                          1. re: dhs
                            michele cindy Aug 25, 2008 09:27 AM

                            I've had the vindaloo at the Spring St. location a few times. While it's ok for me since for a quick fix, since it's the closest place to get vindaloo near where I work, each time the sauce has been undercooked. I'm pretty sure as with a lot of Indian cooking you need to fry up the spices before preparing the whole dish, their's tasted raw. Kinda like a fresh tomato sauce is in comparison to one that has been simmered a decent amount of time. Are there any recs for a good vindaloo near Soho?

                          2. re: JungMann
                            Peter Cherches Aug 14, 2008 02:14 PM

                            I'll have to try Earthen Oven. Their menu even gives the etymology of vindaloo, which I didn't know: "Vin & Alho; Vinegar and Garlic in Portuguese." I think in Portuguese it would be pronounced something like "veen-ee-alyoo," or perhaps "veen-yalyoo."

                        2. sing me a bar Aug 14, 2008 03:07 PM

                          This too is my quest. I tried Minar (not awful) and they were so cranky there, even in the face of my smiles and attempts at making friends. One youngish woman at the front should NOT be in food service or any field involving dealing with people. Haveli's vindaloo tasted odd and too rich with fat. In London I used to get vindaloos that had such depth of flavour beyond the heat. I also got beef madrases there. Deep red, burnishing heat...what I'd give for one now. Near me I have the dreaded Spice Cafe on University Pl. (so bad it's a source of humour), and the usual 6th St suspects. I guess I'll try Banjara out of desperation, but I read it has higher prices without much else distinguishing it from the other 6th st. venues. Help. I'm not going to Devi or any of the posh places, 'cause that's not how I roll.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: sing me a bar
                            Peter Cherches Aug 14, 2008 06:15 PM

                            Cafe Spice was pretty good for several years, but they've gone downhill.

                            1. re: Peter Cherches
                              sing me a bar Aug 14, 2008 07:24 PM

                              I used to like the ambiance, some Kingfishers and a curry as hot as they dared make it. I think I had some good meals there in the 2003 or 2005 vicinity. What say ye, Peter? If I want to take out and intend to do it in the east Village...do I just bite the bullet and take out from Brick Lane?

                              1. re: sing me a bar
                                Peter Cherches Aug 25, 2008 05:41 PM

                                I'm not good on the East Village. I avoided 6th Street completely for years, though I've heard good things about Banjara and Brick Lane.

                            2. re: sing me a bar
                              toum Aug 25, 2008 12:32 PM

                              Try Chola on 58th, bw 2nd and 3rd

                            3. d
                              dzop Aug 25, 2008 10:51 AM

                              Concur with the above. A friend of mine from England and I spent many years trying to find a decent Vindaloo in NYC, and Chola and Earthen Oven were our two favored spots.

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