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Visiting CA hound (ethnic food)

Hello New Yorkers.

I have traveled to NY on business on occassion, but this May I will be coming for vacation.

I always explore different cities by trying different types of food.

I will probably be making about 10 posts over the next few months.

For this current post, I am seeking suggestions on ethnic food. Living in Both SF and Los Angeles, I have had fanstastic Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Thai, and Ethiopian food. I am very excited since I love food. According to Pulitzer winning Jonathan Gold of the LA weekly, Los Angeles has the best hole-in-the-wall authentic ethnic food in the country, but as a foodie, NYC is till King!

What I would love to try is

INDIAN
African (not ethiopian)
Cuban
Puerto Rican
Argentinian/South American (not Peruvian and not central American)
Jaimacan (great meat patties if possible)
Belgium/German/Bavarian (especially desserts for Belgium)
Eastern European/Russian (if there is anything actually good)
Greek/Turkish/Persian/Middle Eastern

I prefer not to go to Harlem (due to my travel mates requests), but if I must, I will make the trek alone if need be to experience great food.

I STRONGLY prefer nothing touristy. I dont care if it is in a hole in the wall or dirty. I dont care if they serve tripe, beef tuonge, inards, feet, whatever. I dont care if they dont speak any english, or if they serve outragously spicy food. Food first, everything else second. Please dont list the Rosa Mexicano style places.

If you list a restaurant, could you please list the specialities or what I should order (beverages included)? In LA/SF, most great ethnic eateries only have one or two fantastic items, and the rest is just good. If you could, maybe explain the spices, the region of the cuisine, etc. I just really want to learn and explore more of the world through NYC cuisine, as well as the city itself. If possible, could you also give me neighorhood tips, local hangouts, really unique neighorhood stores,landmarks, parks, or anything else of interest near the restaurant? that would be AWESOME.

I here places like:
St. Mark's Place,
9th ave between 37th and 57th st
46th st. between 8th and 9th ave
28th st around Lexington

have a decent concentration.

As for Indian
I have eaten at Vij's in Vancouver and have experienced updated indian bistro style food that was VERY good. I have also eaten at some fabulous and exciting indian restaurants in Europe. The updated indian in Seattle, SF, and LA have not impressed me as much. The southern indian (dosas) food in CA is quite solid, but I have never been blown away. I want anything and everything indian, unique, and world class yummy.

THanks everyone

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  1. Cuban: Little Havana
    Argentinian: Azul
    African (non-Ethiopian): Zerza (Moroccan)
    Belgian: Cafe de Bruxelles (mussels), Petite Abeille (waffles). I don't know about Belgian pastries, but for Austrian, Cafe Sabarsky is the best
    Eastern European: Blaue Gans for Austrian
    Greek: Snack Taverna, Pylos, Ethos
    Turkish: Ali Baba

    3 Replies
    1. re: Lucia

      Thanks for the strong list Lucia. It helps me begin my search on multiple fronts!

      Is manhattan still the place for the best ethnic food, or are the outer boroughs now the place to go?

      1. re: jlrobe

        I think you'll find more variety in the OB. Check the OB board for more options.

        1. re: Lucia

          So many wonderful comments. Thanks folks.

          Lucia: "I think you'll find more variety in the OB. Check the OB board for more options.

          That is what i sorta expected. Great ethnic food is usually outside of the ultra pricey city centers, however, in a city such as SF you still have "some" decent choices for raw and real ethnic food. Since my primary reason of this trip is to explore manhattan inside out, I will have to restrict myself to that area.

          CA is very rich in ethnic food, with the exception of some cuisines, which I have listed. It may be the case that the only way to get ethnic food on par is to go to the OB, but I will use everyone's suggestoins and try a few places while in manhattan. If I am blown away, great, if not, hey, Im still hanging out in manhattan.

          Ethnic food is just one part of my new york gastronomic adventure.

    2. Sounds like you're really smart and focused here.
      I would add Polish food to your list, simply because there isn't much of it in California. I seem to be suggesting it a lot lately after a really good cup of Borscht I had recently from Veselka. There are many options for Pirogies and Keilbasa to look into. (oh wait, I just noticed you did have Eastern European on the list. You might like Andre's Hungarian for the chesnut pudding, and strudle. Zabars is the best bet for Knishes, and rugelach. Their strudle is great too)

      As for Indian - Saravanaas on 26th and Lexington makes great huge Dosas. Be warned that the Southern vegetarian style Indian food is all very starchy, and a little one note if you're not prone to ordering variations of lentils. I'd also say that your impulse to skip the modern Indian is pretty right on. People always forget to suggest Indian desserts though...and New York has a great selection.

      Oh, and not ethnic, but I'd add hot chocolate to your list unless you happen to live near the LA City Bakery location. Jacques Torres, City Bakery, and the Dessert Truck are your best bets.

      12 Replies
      1. re: sugartoof

        I highly recommend Zeytin at 85th & Columbus for Turkish/Mediterranean food well prepared.
        We usually go with another couple who lives nearby and we always make sure to order the stuffed grape leaves for the table because they are awesome!
        Of course everyone has different tastes and it is hard to describe all the wonderful dishes but I do recall that one had a whole branzino and smiled through the whole dinner.
        I had the typical lamb shish-kabob and was a happy camper.
        There is a lamb meatball appetizer (the name slips my mind) but everyone flipped for them.
        Addendum: It is called Manti.
        Here is the menu.
        http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

        A winner of a unique, ethnic restaurant.

        1. re: sugartoof

          hey sugartfoot

          "I would add Polish food to your list, simply because there isn't much of it in California."

          I assume from your comment that Eastern European covers Poland too. I definitely want Polish or any former warsaw pact countries.

          So if I read this straight
          Veselka (polish)
          Andre's Hungarian
          Zabars

          Are your recs for eastern European.

          "As for Indian - Saravanaas on 26th and Lexington makes great huge Dosas."

          Cool. I eat tons of dosas, and most of them out here are massive. Sorta like the size of Injera at Ethiopian restaurants. They also have tons of different types (maybe 20 different types at the good places). Thanks for the rec.

          "you're not prone to ordering variations of lentils."

          Between Berkeley in NorCal and Artesia/Culver City in SoCal, I have had my fair share of dosas and lentils! I love them. they are pretty common for me. Thanks for the rec.

          "I'd also say that your impulse to skip the modern Indian is pretty right on. People always forget to suggest Indian desserts though...and New York has a great selection."

          This is FANTASTIC. THANK YOU. I will search the boards and yelp for indian dessert places. Indian dessert in CA SUCKS! CA makes pretty good ice creams, so kolfi is always fantastic here, but aside from that, the rest of indian dessert simply sucks! I have great indian cook books (from a New Yorker and Vancouveran no less) and the range of desserts were amazing.

          Again, ethnic desserts in general suck over here, unless its ice cream!

          "Oh, and not ethnic, but I'd add hot chocolate to your list unless you happen to live near the LA City Bakery location. Jacques Torres, City Bakery, and the Dessert Truck are your best bets."

          I have been to city bakery in LA :) Great local cheese, local breads, produce, great hot chocolate, etc. City Bakery seems like a CA seasonal ingredients type of place. It isn't something I would expect in Manhattan. Thanks for the rec though.

          Also, alot of fancy restaurants do a nice new take on hot chocolate here, and I have had some incredible cups of it. LA is an a small plates, comfort food fad (LA and its fads!!) so fancy mac n cheese, burgers, and hot chocolate is being done by many chefs here.

          I am very tempted to go into my dessert thoughts, but that is for another post! I will have to store these recs and save them for that post!

          1. re: jlrobe

            Veselka's is Ukrainian. For Polish, you need only walk a few blocks up to Little Poland for fantastic stuffed cabbage, pierogi and bigos -- although I have to say that the restaurants on Second Avenue just don't compare to the choices you have in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

            1. re: JungMann

              And for Ukrainian food, Ukrainian East Village Restaurant in the Ukrainian National Home, a couple of doors down from Veselka, is better. I don't think either Ukrainian East Village or Little Poland (which I also like) is a destination restaurant, but especially since Teresa's (a good Polish/diner-type restaurant) closed its East Village branch, I'm glad it's here. At Ukrainian East Village, I recommend the kasha varnishkes with mushroom gravy. The soups range from OK to good and are worth ordering. I get varenyky (pierogi) there often and find them also pretty good (Teresa's were generally better, I think). The spinach varenyky are nice. I've had the veal goulash and the Ukrainian beef goulash and liked both. The atmosphere of the place is faded but still pleasant Old-World charm.

              1. re: JungMann

                Very true, but the menus aren't drastically different and Veselka has always been lumped in as a Polish diner.

                1. re: sugartoof

                  The bigger issue is, how good is it? Have you been to Ukrainian East Village in the Ukrainian National Home lately? No offense, but I think some of the good press for Veselka here is just because it's cheap and grungy. My take is that Ukrainian East Village is less cheap but actually good. That is, unless Veselka suddenly improved drastically from what it was like x-number of years ago, when I ultimately gave up on them because of sustained oversalting and just plain mediocrity - which I doubt.

                  1. re: Pan

                    Ukrainians eat at the Stage Restaurant - 2nd ave and 6ish.

                    Lots of blue plate but the pierohi and blintzes are second to none.

                    1. re: mistercreosote

                      the place next door to STOMP? great place; I think it's polish owners. meat pierogies are great.

                      1. re: bigjeff

                        Yeah, next to the Orpheum Theater - in other words, STOMP. Which is on 2nd between 7th and St. Marks.

                        What do you mean by "blue plate," mistercreosote?

                        1. re: Pan

                          just daily dinner plate specials, as well as dinner plates that they have every night, e.g. chicken cutlet with two veg, meatloaf with two veg, swedish meatball over noodles with one veg, etc. I'm partial to their cutlets as well as their pierogies; a nice grandma in the back frying everything up and really nice counter fellas running the front.

              2. re: jlrobe

                Yeah, on second thought, I'm not sure the Dosas here will blow your mind. Best Dosa I ever had was in Alameda back in the 80's, from this big tented place that served what I believe was Pakistani food. We just started getting some proper Dosas here in NY. Previously they all suffered of baking soda overload.

                The Indian desserts is no joke though. There are spice shops on Lexington Avenue between 28th, and 29th that have a great selection by the pound. You can also pop into Kalustyan on the same block for Middle Eastern sweets. You might spot a few you've never seen before. The real sweets shops have all moved to Queens. Shaheen Sweets is the grandaddy of them all, but there may be better. If you have a real sweet tooth, make sure you get some of the sticky bright orangey funnel cake looking cookies which will probably be in a big tangled mess.

                City Bakery in Manhattan sounds a little different then the LA location, maybe. It's known for some really thick hot chocolate that turns to pudding it's so thick. Their cookies, tartlets, and pretzel bread are great too. I just know the Hot Cocoa trend hasn't hit California just yet, even if there is a MarieBelle in SF now. There's great hot chocolate in LA/SF for sure, but this is a new breed of drink. A year from now it's probably going to be about as clever as suggesting you try a cupcake though haha.

                1. re: sugartoof

                  sugarfoot: "There's great hot chocolate in LA/SF for sure, but this is a new breed of drink"

                  I will definitely check it out! Thanks for the tip.

                  "Yeah, on second thought, I'm not sure the Dosas here will blow your mind. Best Dosa I ever had was in Alameda back in the 80's,"

                  Yeah. over the years I have had some outstanding dosas for sure.

                  Thanks for the tips.

                  Again, it sounds like the OB have a huge selection that I will be missing.

              1. re: MizYellowRose

                "For Puerto Rican Food: La Fonda Boricua (www.lafondaboricua.com)"

                Wow, great find. Has live music. I checked yelp and they say the food is decent, but there arent a whole lot of reviews for it.

                They have a place down here called El Floridita (Cuban). The salsa, mojitos, and live afro-cuban bands FAR exceed the food, yet El Floridita gets good reviews for food as well?!? I am guessing because people are partial to the great festive atmosphere.

                If music wasnt a part of La Fonda Boricua would you still recommed it for the food alone?

                Thanks for the rec.

                1. re: jlrobe

                  Oh, yes! I would recommend La Fonda Boricua for the food alone! I'm half Puerto Rican and have lived on the Island and La Fonda Boricua has--no kidding--the best arroz con gandules I've ever had! (Even better than I make at home LOL!) Same with their chicarrones de pollo! Also, their prices are very reasonable and the portions are huge. We've found that if we each (DH and I) order a plate of rice and beans and share an entree, we're full. Just note that the place is quirky--they have no menus. Once the waitress told me they will cook what you want, which turned out to be not quite true. We tried that the second time we were there and found that there were some limits. I asked if they had pastelillos and the waitress said "yes". I then said "con queso?" No, she said, meat only! To get an idea what to order, take a look at their website for suggestions.

              2. If you find yourself around Washington Square Park around lunch, definitely grab something from the dosa man, the vendor cart at Sullivan. The wait might be long, but totally worth it.

                10 Replies
                1. re: jad2168

                  "If you find yourself around Washington Square Park around lunch, definitely grab something from the dosa man, the vendor cart at Sullivan. The wait might be long, but totally worth it."

                  Well, I will be around Washington Square Park at some time during my trip and it looks like the dosa man will be on my to do list. Thanks! Are all his dosas good? I am guessing he has a huge variety of them.

                  1. re: jad2168

                    jad2168 - how would you rate the Dosa Man's dosas in comparison to dosas from the South Indian places in Curry Hill? I had it on my tentative list for my next trip but heard some disappointing reports from friends. After having tried dosas in a lot of places in the Bay Area, my favorite is actually still the one at Pongal (28th and Lex). The rest of their food seems hit-or-miss (although I haven't been disappointed in the iddly or vada), and even the filling of the masala dosa can be underseasoned, but the dosas themselves have always been beautifully crisp and flavorful.

                    jlrobe - I can't name any Venezuelan places in either LA or SF off the top of my head, so I'd consider getting a Venezuelan-style arepa - I've only been to Flor's kitchen (many years ago, before the new location and expanded menu), but back then, I loved the carne mechada arepa and the chupe. Haven't been to Caracas Arepa Bar. Both seem to get good reviews.

                    I'll echo Lucia's Ali Baba rec above. I love their lahmacun.

                    Also, if you haven't been to Katz's, it's a must, just to be able to compare it to Langer's (I was stunned at how different Langer's pastrami tasted - they're so different I can't comprehend how anyone can actually say that one is better than the other... apples and oranges, and all that.)

                    1. re: daveena

                      There are tons of Venezuelan places in California, but sadly they usually emulate Mexican food, or some other latin menus. I know I've never seen the arepas out there either. Good suggestion.

                      1. re: daveena

                        caracas arepa bar is excellent for a small meal; 2 arepas should satisfy, 3 if you want to get real full. great stuff there and, pretty unique for what it is.

                        1. re: bigjeff

                          Much better value at lunch than dinner. Get one of the lunch specials. I think the food is very nice for a neighborhood place, and I particularly recommend the Arepa Jardinera, but it's nowhere near as amazingly delicious in its own way as a Guatemalan place I went to near 30th St. and Mission or a great sit-down Mexican place on I believe 25th St., also in the Mission but a few blocks down from Mission.

                        2. re: daveena

                          DAveena: "if you haven't been to Katz's, it's a must, just to be able to compare it to Langer's"

                          Im afraid. Langers is in institution out here and I dont want NYC quality pastrami blasting my dreams.

                          "- I can't name any Venezuelan place"
                          You are right, there arent many. Guatamalen, Honduran, El Salvadorian, Nicaraguan, Colombian are present, but not venezuelan. Someone suggested that there are no arepas in CA. That isnt true. I have had vey good arepas, but they were from general colombian/nicaraguan/central american restaurants, not venezuelan. Sounds like something I should try!!!

                          Thanks for the great recs.

                          1. re: jlrobe

                            Hey, you may find that you don't like Katz's at all and Langer's can retain its primacy in your pastrami hierarchy :) Someone on the LA boards actually described the pastrami as "bland and steamed", which made me seriously question whether or not he'd ever actually had any pastrami from Katz's, but still... there do seem to be a number of people who have had both, and prefer Langer's (although most of them cite the superiority of the bread, rather than the flavor of the meat). Again, I find them so different that I can only state a preference (for Katz's), and not superiority of one over the other.

                            re: Venezuelan arepas... after I posted, I thought of one Venezuelan cafe (with branches in LA and Palo Alto) that serves arepas, but they're definitely not as good as the ones I've had at Flor's.

                            1. re: daveena

                              daveena, do you prefer Flor's to Caracas Arepa Bar? When Flor's had a branch in the East Village, I went a number of times for things other than arepas, and I thought they were fine but not a great value (in other words, I thought I was paying too much for merely good food). I realize it would be easy to say the same thing about Caracas, because dinner there, if you have a small mixed salad, a couple of arepas, and some juice, runs over $20.

                              1. re: Pan

                                Hey Pan - I haven't been to Caracas Arepa Bar yet - and actually, one of the reasons I haven't been to Flor's in years is because after a trip to Venezuela, I couldn't stand the idea of paying NYC prices for an arepa. But now it's been years since I've had a Venezuelan arepa, so I'm planning on going to one of the two on my next trip. I see Flor's has moved out of that tiny little closet of a restaurant in the E. Village, and I see there's an active Caracas Arepa Bar thread where someone commented that the prices have gone up in the last 2 years, so I think I'm going to be in for some sticker shock.

                                1. re: daveena

                                  If your schedule allows you to go to Caracas Arepa Bar for lunch, you can get way better prices with their lunch combos. I recommend going that way if you can.

                      2. Some locational comments: the world here has changed a great deal and I think your travel mates will not feel uncomfortable in Harlem where I believe your best west African choices are. More important is that you will greatly broaden your choices by asking this question on the Outer Boroughs board. There are lots of places in Brooklyn and Queens with foods that do not exist in Manhattan (especially the way you want them). Jamaican, Russian, Yemeni, Pizza, Polish, etc. in Brooklyn and Uzbek, Bosnian, Filipino, Indian, etc. in Queens. And don't necessarily exclude "Chinese" from your list. China is a big country and from what I understand, not all of the the regions are well represented on the West Coast. From what I have read, there not much Fujianese food, a cuisine that is well represented in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn Chinatowns.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: bobjbkln

                          bobjbkln
                          "There are lots of places in Brooklyn and Queens with foods that do not exist in Manhattan"

                          I realize that. It is like trying to get the best ethnic food but limiting yourself to Santa Monica or San Francisco. But unfortunately, I, and my travel mates are coming to see manhattan. For my wife, it will be her first time, so I think we will spend most our time in the main city. We will venture out to brooklyn a bit (williamsburg), and I wouldnt mind checking out Harlem, but that is probably all we can see in our limited time.

                          "China is a big country and from what I understand, not all of the the regions are well represented on the West Coast. "

                          You make a good point. If there is a good enough argument, I will check out chinese, but otherwise, I want to check out cuisines I dont really know well like Fujianese, UZbek, Bosnian, etc.

                          1. re: jlrobe

                            «I realize that. It is like trying to get the best ethnic food but limiting yourself to Santa Monica or San Francisco.» No it's much more like going on food trip to San Francisco and absolutely refusing to go to Chez Panisse because it is in Berkeley. Only worse, because Brooklyn and Queens is a lot closer to Manhattan than Berkeley is to SF.

                            Also note that Fujian is a province in China.

                            1. re: jlrobe

                              jlrobe, try checking out this thread:

                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/322988

                              Golden Dragon at 7 Eldridge Street has been shuttered the last few times I've been down there. These hand-pulled noodle shops have all been started by Fuzhou immigrants. Not that hand-pulled noodles are particularly Fujianese. They saw what was not being served up. Mr. Gao of Far Eastern Pulled Noodles originally started where Sheng Wang is now. He closed for awhile to try to start a handbag business then later re-opened a larger noodle house at 28 Forysth Street where he operates today. There are about 3-4 Fuzhou restaurants in the area that I am working on reviewing. Most of them offer zero ambience but have cheap food cooked relatively well. The problem is some do not have English menus and in one the Chinese menu is half translated into English! The lingua franca of these joints is the Fuzhou dialect - of course they understand Mandarin but all the patrons will be conversing in the Fuzhou dialect. And most of them are there for the huge bowl of $1.00 congee served with some cooked scrambled eggs and salty peanuts. Fuzhou is famous for its soups and stews and also another dish Li Zhi Rou or Lychee Pork - a Fuzhou version of sweet and sour pork that is closer to the vinegar side of sweet and sour and usually contains potatoes (or taro) and some hot peppers and garlic. I hope to have a fuller report in the next couple of weeks on these places. The Fuzhou Restuarant that Brian S. introduced to CH several weeks back (at 84 Forysth Street) is actually I think a Cantonese attempt to create an upscale Fuzhou style restaurant! (I did have a wonderful bowl of Beef Noodle Soup here with one of the better tasting broths I've had.)

                              1. re: jlrobe

                                There's plenty of great food in Manhattan to keep you busy. Perhaps if you were doing a food tour alone, you could make the OB a priority, but you shouldn't feel inadequate. Manhattan is really set up for visitors, and it's easy to get around. Many of the best foods in the OB aren't the most convenient for an out of towner that's probably not used to tons of walking, so one day in Queens can turn into an unintentional project. Just have fun, and eat as much as you can!

                            2. Indian:
                              1) South Indian (dosas etc) - Saravanas or Madras Mahal. Get a masala dosa, crisp, masala (vegetable) on the side (makes it soggy if it comes inside), medu vada, and idli. If you want to try something different, get the bisibelebhath (simplistically, rice cooked with lentils and vegetables; very complex in flavour). Also, order the Madras (filter) coffee. SKIP PONGAL. They are obnoxious.
                              2) Hole-in-the-wall authentic Indian/Pakistani non-vegetarian - Naimat Kada on 28th & Lex (below the video place, across from Kalustyan) - get pretty much anything you see, or ask the guy for a recommendation. Everything is good. If they have biryani, don't miss it. The food is authentic South Asian Muslim.
                              3) Indian chinese - not a surprise, but you have to venture into Queens - I like Tangra, but there are other recommendations on the board.
                              4) High-end/modern Indian - I like Tamarind and Bread Bar at Tabla. At Tamarind, the Rajasthani Sooley starter and the Malai halibut entree are delicious. Also the special Raan if they have it (not the one on the menu). Their vegetables are below-par though, which is odd for an Indian restaurant (the bhindi arrived raw to the table once). At Bread Bar, I would eat most things, they vary the menu, but the flavours are authentic and the food is always tasty. I love the rosemary naan, which of course isn't "authentic" but is delicious nonetheless!

                              Enjoy!

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: saregama

                                For a great gyro to go the stand on 53rd St and 6th Ave. There are two stand on either side of 6th Ave, both are owned by the same guy and have the same food. For $6 you'll get an exceptional gyro platter. Go for the lamb with rice.

                                Cevabdzinica Sarajevo is a very good place for Bosnian food. Go for the Cevapi (lamb/beef sausages in a thick homemmade bread). I doubt you'll find many places like this out West. This place is located in Astoria. Take the Subway to Steinway St in Queens.

                                If you like meat then I would suggest Pakistani instead of Indian restaurants. For that Kabab King in Jackson Heights is very authentic. Go for the Bihari Kabab (thinly sliced spicy steaks). Subway to Roosevelt Ave/Jackson Heights Station.

                                1. re: saregama

                                  For Authentic German food go to Zum Schneider on 7th St and Ave B.

                                  1. re: saregama

                                    Tamarind, in my experience, was horrible. Awful awful place. Terrible faux Indian food at outrageous prices.

                                  2. also the jackson heights street food thread for the roosevelt avenue corridor of latin america is pretty amazing, just for sheer choice and density of good eats.

                                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/388653

                                    and I really like this colombian bakery on 37th avenue, near 86th or 87th street, La Nueva. Not the one on the corner, but the one in the middle of the block; usually packed on a weekend morning.

                                    1. You won't find any of that to a proper or pleasing degree in the city. Post this in outer boroughs. There is nothing worthwhile at St Mark's. It's horrifying, actually.

                                      1. I would second Saravanaas on 26th and Lex. As good South Indian food as you can get in NY.

                                        On other fronts, no one suggested Devi. I would recommend it in the money-is-no-object category, since I've only really enjoyed it when doing their (vegetarian) tasting menu. The usual complaints about this place are not for its quality, but just of the "you expect me to $12 for something that costs 50 cents in India" variety. At the upper end, personally I would recommend this over Bread Bar, since you are getting a wider range of Indian flavors. Tamarind has gone down badly.

                                        Finally, from left field, I would suggest Graffiti, the newish place run by Jehangir Mehta.

                                        http://www.nysun.com/article/67545

                                        It's gotten mixed reviews. It's not Indian, it's not molecular, but it's definitely fusion. I would put it this way. It was not satisfying as a meal, but I had a couple of the most original flavor combinations I've tried in a long while. Mehta flits in and out of the open kitchen and gives the place a homey feel. I might also suggest Bombay Talkie, where Mehta designed the menu. Again, it's got some menu issues (confusing arrangement of items, not clear how to put a meal together) but some of their dishes do hit the spot.

                                        I don't know the Indian food scene on the West coast, but I would keep your expectations in check. You can certainly eat good Indian food in New York, but great I haven't found.

                                        Cheers,

                                        BB

                                        1. Taboon on 10th and 52d, Med/Middle Eastern. No website I know of but you can get the menu from menupages.

                                          1. Best hole-in-the-wall falafel: Azuri Cafe on 51st and 10th ave. You can get an amazing falafel plate with many different salads which are the freshest and zestiest to be found. The proprietor Ezra is quite gruff, so don't try to make substitutions, etc. 4 tables for eating inside and a couple more outdoors if the weather is nice. This is the place by which all other falafel plates should be measured. Closed from Friday Sundown till Sunday lunch.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: bern1

                                              I'd second the kudos for Azuri. Great place! Wonderful dolmas, as well.