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Jun 22, 2008 06:38 PM

seva - good indian in astoria!

I read about this place first on Seva is located on the southeast corner of 34th st and 30th ave where Meghna used to be but it is a far cry from that neighborhood last resort. I have to say I am too hot and tired right now to expound, but, Astoria residents, go! It was empty when we did. On top of fresh, carefully presented, well spiced, perfectly cooked, and in some cases unusually creative dishes, the owner is beyond friendly and solicitous. Servings are generous and reasonably priced. I can't wait to go back!

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  1. Please tell me more details! South Indian? Bengali? Paki? I need info to prompt any trip to Queens (but I will go if it is compelling).

    1. This is great ! Now I can add *Indian* to the plethora of places I have to visit everytime I'm in Astoria. The list expands, tummy expands, wallet compresses.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Cheese Boy

        Well I'm pretty wary of calling any Indian restaurant a "destination" restaurant given the vast expertise represented on this board, but here is a menu so you can decide for yourself.

        PS It's Northern Indian but I loved it and I usually prefer lighter fare. Not too heavy and good and fresh tasting.

        1. re: melon

          Yes, I agree. I really enjoyed lunch there a couple weeks ago. It's very likely the best Indian restaurant in Astoria, and definitely worth a visit if you're in the neighborhood, but I don't think it's worth a trip out here. If you're going to travel for Indian food, there are probably better options. And if you're coming to Astoria for dinner, I can name a dozen places off the top of my head that are more compelling.

          1. re: Harlan

            a dozen places? Please name them, I can't think of that many places in Astoria I'd go out of my way to eat at..I've had several disapointing meals at the most referred places....will check out the Indian place, as it's hard to find chicken tikka with white meat, I know I'm in the minority here, but that's the way our family eats it---is the place small or large?atmosphere? clean? child friendly?

            1. re: janie

              I've found that most places will sub white meat for a dollar extra if you ask.

              1. re: Widmark

                I've asked many times, and they say they only havet the thigh in house because that's what is most popular. Banjara in the city has it, and other places that appeal more to non-Indian tastes.

              2. re: janie

                I am sometimes inclined to agree with you on bad days about the dearth of interesting and reasonable local eateries, particularly in "northern" Astoria.

                Seva is smallish, quite clean with nice new decor, and the owner was gleefully being introduced to the neighbors' new baby when we walked in. I'm pretty sure it's child friendly.

                I'm also pretty sure that the owner could accommodate your request. Although I can't be sure that whether the chicken was 100% breast meat, I can be sure that both the chicken and the lamb we were served were fork-tender and well trimmed of all gristly bits.

                1. re: janie

                  I'll take your obvious flame bait:

                  Sabor Tropical
                  Brasavile Cafe
                  BZ Grill
                  Trattoria L'Incontro
                  Himalaya Tea House
                  Bistro 33
                  The Beer Garden
                  Piccola Venezia
                  Kebab Cafe
                  One of the several Bosnian grill places I don't know the names of

                  1. re: Astoria Lurker

                    We're getting off topic, but yeah! Although I'd probably put only about half of those places as being worth going to from outside of Astoria... (Oh, and don't forget Koliba! Much better Czech food than the Beer Garden, and definitely worth a trip of you're looking for that kind of thing!)

                    1. re: Harlan

                      Yes, Koliba is much better. The Beer GArden's stale bread and overdone sausages are not the reason for a trip to the place...go for the BEER and the green ambience. That's why it's a BEER GARDEN!

                    2. re: Astoria Lurker

                      I'd add Locale on 34th Ave. and 32nd Street.

              3. re: Cheese Boy

                Hmmm...don't be too quick. See below

              4. I agree. It was so hard to satisfy Tikka Masala craving in Astoria without hopping on 2 trains to go to Jackson Heights. We tried Seva last night and are wowed. The restaurant was full even on Tuesday night...phones were ringing off the hook for deliveries but still the staff gave us all the attention. We had Chicken Tikka Masala and Lamb Biryani - both amazing. They have a pretty unique dessert called Gulab Jamun (it is a honey dumpling. Mango lassi was a perfect cooler after the spicy treat. What I liked is the waiter asked us how spicy we would like our dishes to be - see it is not one size fits all. We found their delivery special very resonable( $11 for app,entree,rice,dessert) and they even deliver in Ditmars area. For now they are offering BYOB without any corkage fee. Good Job Seva! Welcome to the neighborhood.

                1. Thanks melon for the heads up about this place, we went tonight, Wednesday, at about 9ish..was empty when we got there ,but then 2 other tables filled up. Owner was very gracious, and super kind to our toddler..and most importantly, the food was outstanding, and the price and portions very fair. Everything tasted very fresh, and it was served with lots of care and attention. Their lunch special at $8 and their dinner special at $12 is a real bargain. My husband got the dinner special which comes with an appetizer, entree and dessert. He had the green chili chicken, vegetable samosa, and rice pudding dessert. The green chili sauce was excellent, not a drop of grease anywhere! All the flavors were delightfully distinguished from one another, and not sauced into one undefined mess like I've had at so many other places. The owner said this mostly came with white chicken but would make sure it only had white for my husband since he doesn't like dark meat chicken. It also came with a very nice basmati rice served individually in copper pots. The chutney's served complimentary were excellent also. We also had the garlic nan, which was exceptional, light airy, not heavy at all, and not greasy at all, just with the essence of garlic, and big portion of it. I had the Chicken Tikka which is breast white meat, Tandoori, served with tomato slices ,green pepper and onion slices, and a wonderful yogurt raita. Chicken was cooked perfectly, tender, and not overcooked or undercooked, just perfect and juicy. The vegetable samosa appetizer was a huge potato and green pea samosa with a light crust and again, no heavy greasy taste. Everything we had was delicate in its composition, and its presentation.

                  This could be what De Mole is for Mexican in Sunnyside, Seva could be for Indian in Astoria. It's small, friendly, authentic, and lovingly prepared.

                  We'll be back again very soon.............would love to hear from others that have tried the vegetarian stuff....

                  The owner was telling us he lives very nearby, and he couldn't find any food he liked, so his wife urged him to open the lady!

                  Go chowhounders, and report back!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: janie

                    I strongly second all the positive things people have said about Seva! Stopped by there on my way home from work this evening because I was intrigued by the menu, which offers a lot of great dishes not found in the other Indian restaurants around the 'hood.

                    I ordered the pakora appetizer (mixture of cauliflower, onion and potato fritters) and baghare baigan (baby eggplant with sesame tamarind sauce) entree. The owner told me that baghare baigan is a popular dish in Hyderabad so he decided to put it on the menu. He also said that he was going to be changing the menu with the seasons - very exciting news!

                    The pakora was fantastic, particularly the cauliflower and onion pieces. I liked that you could actually distinguish whole pieces of veg, as opposed to a mashed up mess I've seen at other places. Also, the flavor of the veg itself was very apparent and not overwhelmed by the batter or too much salt.

                    The baghare baigan was even more delicious! Even in its takeout container it looked so appetizing and well-arranged. It had whole baby eggplants that were cooked perfectly in a very thick, greaseless and perfectly spiced sauce. Even the rice deserves mention since it was so moist and tender. One would think this should be a given, but after a lot of dry, old rice at places that shall remain unnamed...

                    Lastly, the BYOB + no corking charge puts it way up there in my book!

                    I'll definitely be back for the goa fish curry, butternut squash soup and fennel kaddu (sweet yellow pumpkin, fennel seeds and nutmeg)!

                  2. 5 Star Punjabi Diner on 21st street south of the bridge. Do a search, it's well regarded. I ate there yesterday. $9 lunchs pecial, free nan, etc. My fav indian place citywide.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: 2slices

                      I used to live right by 5 Star Punjab, in a converted industrial loft. Definitely the highlight of a sparse neighborhood. I've been meaning to go back for the lunch special for ages. They also make a damn good navratan curry, especially if you ask for it spicy.

                      Thanks for the rec. of Seva, I'm craving Indian and am really glad to hear about this new option in the neighborhood!