Gaam (Indian vegetarian 30th&Bway): quick impression
- bombaybeauty Oct 24, 2008 07:12 PM
Gaam is in the location previously occupied by Dimple. But the food and format have changed considerably. As noted by previous comments, Gaam is run by the same folks that own Vatan, on 3rd in 30s. This place inherits some of the good and bad features of Vatan.
The bad: Terrible-to-kitsch decor, non-existent ambiance (at dinner). I thought I saw someone drinking a glass of wine here, but you'd be foolish to try (no, not because of wrong-headed view that wine can't be paired with Indian food, simply because there is no way this place can have good wine). I definitely saw someone with a beer.
The good: Service is efficient and friendly.
The food: I haven't yet found a great Indian restaurant in New York, and this isn't about to change things. But they serve a very respectable home-cooked style thali.
You start with an appetizer plate of farsan (savory finger foods traditionally eaten *with* an Indian meal or a a tea-time snack; especially favored by the Gujaratis). These were really more than respectable. The bhajia were not oily; the dhokla were light, and the dupka were nice. (How does one translate this? Deep-fried dumplings? Really, where else will you get methi dupka in New York?) The mini-samosas had a nice filling but had been made with ready-made crusts. Good tamarind and mint chutneys. There's a reason that farsan are traditional served with the mean. They are a great crispy, savory diversion in the middle of the meal, but get monotonous on their own.
The main thali had really nice puris (really, these people do know how to fry well -- they were not oily at all), a good low-oil yellow daal, chickpeas, eggplants, potatoes, and one kofta-type thing. These were good-minus; not as good as the starters. But cooked in a lighter, healtier format than you'll find at most Indian restaurants in NY.
The thali included a small sweet that was ok.
I don't sound that enthusiastic, but did really enjoy it. It's a bit like visiting an aunt who likes to cook a lot of food, and cooks well but not spectacularly. At 20 per thali, with refills available, you really can't argue.
11 W 30th St, New York, NY 10001
Thanks for posting this. I work in the area and it even looks like a good lunch option; looking at the menu online the in-house 'platters' (thalis) seem like the way to go (I am drawn to the Gujerati one), though they also offer lunch boxes to go. I'll try to be there next week and report back.
Indeed - the same in Gujarati --
Update for everyone -- this place has closed, or moved -- back to its orginal name and location, Vatan on 3rd Avenue. I thought the food at Gaam was better than it used to be Vatan so I hope the quality improvement carries back to the old location, and that they've ripped out the overwrought decore.