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Mar 29, 2008 07:29 PM

Bombay Talkie...what are your thoughts?

A friend has suggested this spot for "the best" Indian food...any reviews or alternatives?

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  1. It's okay, but not great. Some of the food was good, some was completely forgettable but nothing really blew my mind, and I thought the atmosphere was sort of anonymous in a "Chelsea restaurant" kind of way. If you don't mind going almost directly across town, there are three good places that I would recommend over Bombay Talkie. In descending order (from best to least of the best), they are:

    TIFFIN WALLAH (28th Street between Park and Lex) - it was BYOB, but I think they serve booze now. And it has about zero atmosphere (very clean, green and forgettable) but the food is some of the most creative Indian food in Manhattan short of going somewhere like Tabla. It's the only Indian place I go to on a regular basis because the food's so good. Everything on the menu feels well-thought-out, with even the pakoras feeling like someone gave them some thought rather than just frying them up and dumping them on a plate. Word of warning, the spiced cashew nuts are addictive so don't eat too many - they're more filling than they seem. Really, really affordable, too, which is nice. The only drawback is the room, which doesn't have much in the way of style. Also, a lot of the online reviews I've seen were either written early on when the kitchen wasn't as rock solid as it's been for the past little while, or it's people reviewing their $6 lunch buffet which is a case of getting what you pay for.

    CHINESE MIRCH - (corner of Lex and 28th) Good food that's a Chinese/Indian hybrid - while every dish isn't totally outstanding, they get points for originality. It gets a little tiresome eating here since the menu is pretty much set in stone and rarely changes, but the first time I ate here I was really blown away (maybe I just need to get out more often). The crispy okra is nice and slimy, but fried up really well so it's not too oily and delivers a lot of deep fry crunch, to offset the sliminess of the okra. To me it was pretty much perfect for okra. I would recommend avoiding the Manchurian Vegetable Ball - I thought it was gross. But I remember really liking the hot garlic prawns and the coriander fish a lot.

    CHENNAI GARDEN - (27th and Lexington) the only thing to really go to town with here are the dosas. But they're great and there're about 15 of them so it takes a while to get bored. Unlike Tiffin Wallah, which has no atmosphere, Chennai Garden has negative atmosphere - it feels like you're in a cafeteria. But just drink a lot and the feeling will pass.

    Hardly original (all three places have been written about a lot on Chowhound) but these three places impressed me more than Bombay Talkie, and Tiffin Wallah I think will do you right.