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Great Indian? Not too expensive

TampaNativeThatLovesNYC Apr 22, 2009 07:23 AM

What is a great Indian place to eat at while in NYC for 2 nights? For either lunch or dinner, not tooo expensive, maybe $40 or $50 total for 2 people? I usually eat at Banjara which I love but would like to try a new place, thank you!

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    RGR RE: TampaNativeThatLovesNYC Apr 22, 2009 07:26 AM

    Devi's Indian cuisine is superb. They offer a 3-course lunch prix-fixe for $25. If you go, the signature tandoor-grilled lamb chops are not to be missed.


    1 Reply
    1. re: RGR
      a_and_w RE: RGR Apr 23, 2009 07:47 AM

      Devi is good but not what I think of as "not too expensive," though I suppose it technically meets the OP's price point. I recommend Saravanaas, though it is Southern Indian. I would also suggest doing a search for Bigg Jeff's posts re Indian.

    2. LeahBaila RE: TampaNativeThatLovesNYC Apr 22, 2009 07:33 AM

      Dhaba, hands down. BEST.INDIAN.EVER. http://highwaydhaba.com/


      9 Replies
      1. re: LeahBaila
        TampaNativeThatLovesNYC RE: LeahBaila Apr 22, 2009 07:37 AM

        Great! I will try it, thanks!

        1. re: TampaNativeThatLovesNYC
          LeahBaila RE: TampaNativeThatLovesNYC Apr 22, 2009 07:47 AM

          Sure! Enjoy it and pls report back. :)


          1. re: TampaNativeThatLovesNYC
            acidity RE: TampaNativeThatLovesNYC Apr 22, 2009 08:48 AM

            I don't agree that Dhaba is best Indian ever. I like the food there, but it depends what you order. (And I assume we are not talking about the buffet?) The menu is a minefield with many similar items. We ended up eating the same thing over and over.

            Nearby Saravanaas is much more interesting food to me, and it's dirt cheap.

            81 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

            1. re: acidity
              heinlein42 RE: acidity Apr 23, 2009 03:48 PM

              Second Saravanas- I always either eat there or Banjara

              1. re: heinlein42
                NYJewboy RE: heinlein42 Apr 23, 2009 05:01 PM

                I third Saravanas. Best dosas in the city.

                1. re: NYJewboy
                  Jorel RE: NYJewboy Apr 26, 2009 04:57 PM

                  Saravanaas is excellent South Indian food. In addition to the dosa, I love most of the utthappam and the mixed vegetable paratha.

                  If you're in search of North Indian food that is more widespread in the US, I think you'll be better served eating at expensive places such as Devi and Tamarind, or the Bengali/Bangladeshi places in Queens, but I like both Bajara and Haveli on opposite ends of the 6th St Curry Row, for good-enough North Indian.

                  1. re: Jorel
                    a_and_w RE: Jorel Apr 27, 2009 08:49 AM

                    I disagree re the expensive places. There is plenty of excellent North Indian to be had without spending an arm and a leg. Devi is OK, but I find Tamarind to be nothing special and not at all worth the price. I'm with you, though, on the Bengali-Bangladeshi places.

              2. re: acidity
                wew RE: acidity Apr 25, 2009 02:29 PM

                "The menu is a minefield."
                What are your favorite dishes at the two restaurants?

                1. re: wew
                  acidity RE: wew Apr 26, 2009 08:50 AM

                  That's not really my style of ordering, remembering, or posting. I look at a menu, try to call up my Hindi zen, and see what I get.

                  Saravanaas actually has very few items for such a big menu. The plain steamed idli is a GREAT plate, dirt cheap, and if you "are a girl" it's a whole meal. All the other varieties and the donuts whose names I can't remember are not to my taste. The dosas are great, have not tried them all to have a favorite. The thali combo comes with 1/2 good stuff, and 1/2 stuff that's a bit on the sweet side.

                  I've been to Dhaba twice, probably couldn't tell you the name of anything. But I ordered four things that came across as Special K or Rice Krispies smothered in yogurt. One would have been good. Got some other stuff too, but none of it was as good as what I love at Saravanaas.

                  But if everybody doesn't mind, I'm going to go back to posting drive-bys. I don't remember and think in detail like this, I just fire off my thumbs up and thumbs downs, and that's what I look for, people who agree with me rather than particular dishes that do :)

          2. JungMann RE: TampaNativeThatLovesNYC Apr 22, 2009 09:08 AM

            RGR's recommendation of Devi is top-notch for lunch. Various South Indian restaurants also offer very good vegetarian tiffin at lunch time, such as Saravanaas, Tiffin Wallah and Chennai Garden. The food is a spectacular iteration of modern Indian cooking. For dinner, you might go the classic route with a place like Earthen Oven, Dhaba for Northern, Saravanaas or Gaam for vegetarian, or, casual restaurants like Minar or Haandi.

            3 Replies
            1. re: JungMann
              acidity RE: JungMann Apr 22, 2009 10:46 AM

              In my experience, Tiffin Wallah is not in the same league with Saravanaas. Conduct the test yourself by ordering idli; Saravanaas is sublime (ooh that indescribable spicy peanut dipping smear); Tiffin Wallah you'll wonder if it was microwaved, roll your eyes at the chutneys. Similar contrast with the dosas.

              Also, I'm a big meat eater, but since discovering how good South Indian cuisine is, I have lost interest in "meat" Indian restaurants. I mention it because the connotation "vegetarian" carries I don't think applies to Indian food. I don't need the "cooked till dry" meat, be it lamb or chicken, served routinely at even the best Indian restaurants.

              The OP should also realize that Devi is expensive, as cheap was requested.

              1. re: acidity
                JungMann RE: acidity Apr 22, 2009 11:45 AM

                Tiffin Wallah is not as broadly delicious as Saravanaas; you're quite right, but there are things they do well. But their uthappam is quite good and I remember liking their rasam and navaratan curry. The saag paneer is also nothing to scoff at, especially given the well-priced $7 lunch buffet.

                1. re: JungMann
                  deam RE: JungMann Apr 23, 2009 09:19 AM

                  Sarvannas Bhavan is good, but $15 for a South Indian Thali seems a little bit on the pricey side.

                  I've had a couple of meals at the Tiffin Wallah and I've been happy with them all.

            2. Spends Rent on Food RE: TampaNativeThatLovesNYC Apr 22, 2009 10:41 AM

              Saravanaas for Southern Indain, Dawat for northern indian. Although I do rate Devi very highly as well.

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                planetjess RE: TampaNativeThatLovesNYC Apr 22, 2009 11:01 AM

                Completely agree with RGR--if you can stretch to $50 plus tax and tip for lunch, Devi would be my unequivocal suggestion. In addition to excellent quality, the atmosphere at lunch time is like a massage for the senses--stepping out of the reality of a busy New York City afternoon into a place that is wholly serene and beautiful.

                1. s
                  Shazza RE: TampaNativeThatLovesNYC Apr 22, 2009 12:52 PM

                  My personal favourite for cheap indian is Chennai Garden - it's not as crowded as Saravanaas and I find they do both North Indian and South Indian dishes well.

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                    armaity RE: TampaNativeThatLovesNYC Apr 22, 2009 01:07 PM

                    amma in midtown east.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: armaity
                      Gelaine RE: armaity Apr 25, 2009 02:45 PM

                      If you're... in midtown...E.58... Dawat has an excellent lunch special... $15.50 to 22.95. Not a buffet. I think there are about 4 menus.... most of them in the $15-1!6 range.

                    2. janethepain RE: TampaNativeThatLovesNYC Apr 28, 2009 08:31 AM

                      I just went to Dhaba for the first time this past weekend for their lunch buffet. Everything was great - good tikka masala with thicker sauce than most, fresh naan and some kind of fried lentil "bread"(?) brought to each table, a really good chaat of some sort and chicken drumsticks brought to each table, interesting and well-spiced veggie and meat spices. Enjoyed a spinach dish there that wasn't swimming in grease or water and some good lamb. Was quite impressed with the place.

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