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Baluchi's Indian Just Opened on 5th Ave. btwn 2d and 3rd

Totally exceeded my expectations. Best Indian food I've ever had outside of Queens. I've been totally underwhelmed by the Indian restaurants on 5th at 11th and 5th and President. Just ordered basics: Garlic Naan, Chicken Tikka Marsala, and Rice Pudding but it was all really really good. Naan was super fluffy, flavorful, not greasy, not doughy, garlic wasn't burned. Flavors in the Tikka were complex, not drowned in sauce but still very tender and juicey. They do the rice up with spices and peas and whatnot. The rice pudding was rich and flavored with just the right amount of cardamon and had excellent mouth feel. Cool atmospherics, decorated with colorful bejeweled swag lamps. It's like chowing in a harem. They won't start serving alcohol until Monday. Not expensive for Park Slope. Dinner cost me $25 and I had enough leftover for a decent lunch. They also have a $15 Take Out/Delivery special - appetizer, entree, rice, naan, Raita and Mango Chutney. Phone No. (718) 832-5555. 310 5th Ave. Menu at www.baluchis.com.

I'm really hoping this isn't one of those restaurants that open and close before people discover how good it is.

It's part of a chain with a couple of locations mostly in Manhattan.

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  1. I would not doubt you enjoyed your meal, and maybe they got a good chef.

    However I have been to one of their places in Manhattan (2d ave) and it was so bad my wife and I walked out mid-meal with only single bites taken from our dishes. Inedible. We paid of course, but it was outrageous that they could charge money for that.

    7 Replies
    1. re: NYJewboy

      In my experience, Baluchis is extremely inconsistent and certain locations are better than others. I have had decent experiences with the 53rd st location and poor experiences with the 2nd avenue location. I look forward to trying the new Park Slope location.

      1. re: mmm...food

        Do you think it is like chinese places where they pay a good chef to dollar for a few weeks and then cheap out?

        1. re: NYJewboy

          This is something I am praying didn't happen at Hunan House in Flushing, given Lau's report. Say it ain't so...pls...

          1. re: buttertart

            I was informed by the owners that one of the chefs did leave HH (that's why one of the menu items was no longer available). Many of the items there still taste great. I think that Lau just ordered a bit poorly.

            1. re: Joe MacBu

              Hope so, will have to get over there soon and check.

        2. re: mmm...food

          That matches my experience, too. For example, the short-lived Baluchis in Carroll Gardens was terrible. Plus, I'd had some bad experiences at branches in Manhattan. So, when I moved to Forest Hills, I was disappointed to find that the only neighborhood Indian was a Baluchis. But every time I've eaten from the Forest Hills branch, both eat in and take out, I've enjoyed my meal. So that goes against what NYJewboy (why do I suddenly feel like a bigot) suggested. Perhaps each branch of the franchise is individually owned. However they do it, the Forest Hills branch consistently makes some tasty Indian food.

          1. re: Greg

            i second this, the food there is consistant. i was introduced to it by an indian friend, even though i have seen it there for years i never bothered with it until then, but now when that indian craving kicks in its the go to.

      2. Kinara on 5th is a Baluchi spinoff and was quite good for what it is when I tried it.
        I dont like that pared down, "light" indian style, however.
        $25 for an indian meal with just one dish also sounds like quite a lot.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jen kalb

          What is a Baluchi spinoff? The owner or chef used to be at Baluchi?

          1. re: gfood

            I think both, at least originally - thats what they told me. Who knows now,?? the point was that that light ened style was what they carried forward.

        2. they dropped a menu off at my place recently, and i noticed that it is exactly the same as the menu i used to have for an Amin in Ft. Greene, down to their "one app, one entree" deal and the description of items (something like: "too difficult to explain, but try it you'll love it").

          I know there are several Amins.
          they seem to have an empire of mediocre Indian places.
          is Baluchis somehow associated with Amin?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Get In My Belly

            the too difficult to explain dish is Kachoori I believe.- great sweat/sour/savory, hot/cold, cool/spicy, soft/crispy wrapped into one (at least the Baluchi version). I wouldn't get it to go, but the sauces and chutneys really make it a tasty dish that is devoured quickly. I too noticed the similarities in menus. Seems like a questionable liberty to be taken if they are not related.

            1. re: dhs

              I bet the same people make all the indian restaurant takeout menus (the same way the chinese menus are basically cloned.)

              at least that could explain the similarity.

          2. Tried Baluchi's for lunch yesterday. Pretty basic Indian food, nothing special. Chicken Vindaloo was spicy and well balanced, tandoor chicken and lamb were good, garlic naan was solid. The tandoor salmon was god-awful and probably never should have been served. My bad for ordering fish on a Sunday at a place that doesn't specialize in seafood. Raita was a little to sweet for my liking with little garlic/cucumber flavor. All in all not terrible but not great either. Place was very nicely decorated but for some reason, the whole dining experience was a little off. Maybe it was the disjointed service or flow of the place. I won't make a concerted effort to return.

            1. I changed my mind. Forget I suggested Baluchi's. Please.

              I did the original post. If I misled anyone into trying this place, I'm sorry. I've gone back a few times and had take out a few times and it has really just been ok. Never even half as good as the first couple of times. In retrospect it was probably like one of the other posters observed. They brought in really good cook for the first couple of weeks and then brought in hacks.

              It is nice to have even an OK Indian food option in the neighborhood and the dining room is really lovely...

              BUT...

              I took a friend there Saturday night and the waiter was so incredibly surly and unhelpful that we picked up and left. Spent our evening and money elsewhere. And for a Saturday night the place was really dead so it wasn't that they were too busy.

              I would withdraw my original review if I could. And I don't ever intend to go back.

              Forget this place. It is so not Chowish.

              p.s. Still no liquor license.

              2 Replies
              1. re: lborge

                That happens a lot in Chinese places too.

                1. re: lborge

                  Ate there a few nights ago and I'm sad to report that the food was just plain awful. The appetizer of roasted mixed vegetables consisted of a couple of chunks of mostly raw onion, broccoli and a pepper or two, briefly dunked in tandoori paste and yogurt and then "cooked" just long enough to be charred on the outside and completely raw on the inside. Raw onion. Yum. The black chickpea salad also tasted overwhelmingly of raw onion. Chef must have been on a roll. Tandoori chicken was dry and blah, raita was too sweet, etc. etc. They even managed to ruin the Kulfi - it was served frozen solid, but when chipped away had the grainy texture of ice cream that has been in freezer for way too long. It was also completely lacking in flavor - pistachio or otherwise. Service was quite friendly, but it just can't compensate for the complete lack of cooking ability in the kitchen. Too bad.