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Best Restaurants on Curry Row?

t
taystahl Jul 29, 2009 02:03 PM

My wife and I just moved to the stretch of Lexington Ave. between 30th and 23rd St. Obviously, there are a LOT of options for Indian cuisine in the neighborhood...too many in fact. We'd like to narrow down our "favorites" list without having to sample every single one of them in the process, as that would be incredibly time consuming, not to mention costly.

We'd appreciate any recommendations that you've got, and any "avoid-at-all-cost" warnings as well. Extra points for specificity (eg. regional cuisine standouts, takeout rec's, etc.).

(and I know there are threds on this topic out there, but most are antiquated...I'm looking for fresh intel...)

Thanks all!

  1. goodhealthgourmet Jul 29, 2009 02:14 PM

    if you want to take one for the team and check out a newcomer to gather some "fresh intel" for all CHers, there's a North Indian kebab place that just opened this week on Lex at 27th...

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/29/din...

    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
      bigjeff Aug 3, 2009 07:02 PM

      so leery of that place, just because its connected to kebab factory. there is a lot of PR around this joint tho all over the nyc area blogs and sites. would love to hear an honest review of the place (or I might just check it out myself).

    2. b
      brettnyc Jul 29, 2009 02:23 PM

      There's a ton posted on here on these restaurants, but search "curry hill" rather than "curry row". The quick version, most of the restaurants specialize in south indian cuisine, Tiffin Wallah, Saravanaas, Chennai Garden and Dhaba are the cream of the crop. My gf and I's favorite is Tiffin Wallah, although others prefer Saravanaas. And Kalustyan's is an absolutely excellent market. Regarding the new kebab place mentioned by goodhealthgourmet, its called Bhatti, and as mentioned in a different post we got delivery from it the other day and liked it, but based on only one meal we preferred Tiffin Wallah. But the specialization is obviously different.

      1 Reply
      1. re: brettnyc
        bigjeff Aug 3, 2009 07:02 PM

        recently updated thread:
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/496647

        and, not so recently updated (since march) with a focus on takeout:
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/493466

      2. r
        RGR Jul 29, 2009 02:23 PM

        It's more commonly called "Curry *Hill*."

        I would recommend the recently opened Dhaba, b/t 27th & 28th.

        http://www.dhabanyc.com

        Of course, there's Kalustyan's, b/t 28th & 29th, which stocks a super-vast array of items. Prepared foods are upstairs. The only thing I've tried is the very good mujaddarah.

        http://www.kalustyans.com

        There are a couple of non-Indian restaurants that I think are worth your while.

        La Petite Auberge, a few doors north of Dhaba, was there long before any of the Indian and Pakistani restaurants. Excellent French bistro cuisine served in a charming space that resembles a little country inn.

        http://www.lapetiteaubergeny.com

        Penelope, on the corner of 30th, offers an eclectic menu of tasty food in a small space with kitchy decor.

        http://www.penelopenyc.com

        Also, Baoguette, the banh mi shop, is located between 25th & 26th.

        http://www.baoguette.com

        7 Replies
        1. re: RGR
          c
          comiendosiempre Jul 29, 2009 08:08 PM

          Kalustyans' sells a bunch of pre made side dishes (hummus, eggplant and chick pea salads, mujadra, etc) in the back, in a refrigerated section. Those are pretty good, but not as good as some other spots that specialize in each of those dishes. Yet, if you are in a rush, go for those. For spices, etc., they can barely be beat. Excellent dried fruit, nuts, etc. too. For more standard items, like mustards, coconut milk, some vinegars, there prices are only Ok.

          Tiffin Wallah is about the best lunch deal in the city.

          For non Indian try Les Halles, on 27th and Park. Their steak frites are still very good, must be ordered medium rare, and their onion soup and escargot are also very good. They have a great brunch for about $19 per person on the weekends.

          1. re: comiendosiempre
            k
            kathryn Jul 29, 2009 08:09 PM

            I think RGR was referring not to the fridge at Kalustyan's but the cafe upstairs.

            1. re: kathryn
              r
              RGR Jul 29, 2009 08:14 PM

              That's correct. I was referring to the freshly-prepared foods, including the mujaddarah, which are found upstairs. It's really more of a take-out set-up since there are only two small tables.

              1. re: RGR
                c
                comiendosiempre Jul 30, 2009 05:23 AM

                The food served upstairs, among the teas and other items, is the same food they serve in take out plastic containers downstairs, in the refrigerated section.

                While the falafel is pretty good upstairs, most of the rest of the items are not as good as comparable dishes at other spots in the neighborhood or elsewhere. Kalustyan's simply isn't a "restaurant" so to speak. We go there all the time, and have found they are the best in splices and similar, less good for other items.

                And yes, their mujadrah is pretty good, but its on the dry side and can use more fried onions . . .

                1. re: comiendosiempre
                  p
                  Pan Dec 3, 2009 07:30 PM

                  You're a tough critic of that mujadara! Whose do you like better? I'd really like to know, and go there!

          2. re: RGR
            w
            windycity Jul 29, 2009 08:19 PM

            RGR covered the best eats in the hood. My fave is Tiffin Wallah for their dosa. Resto used to be good but went downhill and I haven't been back although they have a huge beer selection and I miss their liege waffles.

            1. re: windycity
              k
              kathryn Jul 30, 2009 07:00 AM

              FYI the chef at Resto left to cook at Irving Mill, but he just left to join Allen and Delancey.

          3. LeahBaila Jul 30, 2009 05:33 AM

            Dhaba (thanks Jungmann, I'm eternally grateful for this fabulous Indian restaurant rec)
            Kalustyan's (for groceries, specialty items)

            www.thelunchbelle.com

            1. JungMann Jul 30, 2009 07:07 AM

              Dhaba is a good choice for non-veg and certain chaat (you're welcome LeahBaila, btw). I am not a fan of their tandoori, but their goat, murgh makhani and biryanis are very good.

              For tandoori I much prefer the Pakistani restaurants Lahore or Haandi. They can be spotty, but Lahore also has very good kheema samosas, while Haandi has surprisingly good biryani in addition to the kebabs I buy there. The Pakistani butcher just north of Kalustyan's also makes his own mithai and very good papri.

              For Indian veg, Tiffin Wallah is my first choice. I love their utthapam, sambar and palak. But if I am looking to do a large Southern Indian meal, I still like Saravanaas over Pongal for the richness of their aloo and dosas. Pongal is also good, but if you are looking for thali, you are better off at Chennai Garden.

              I am not a terribly big fan of Kalustyan's. I only go there when I am too lazy to explore the boroughs for ingredients I need/want. Their prepared food lacks a certain zip when I've had it. I'm not certain if it's missing garlic or citrus or what. For Indian groceries, I more often go to the place on 27th right next to the taco shop. They have good-looking karela and eggplant as well as Sukhadia's sweets. On the other side of Lexington and 28th, there is a shop that specializes in paan.

              I am still looking for a place with good paratha kababs. Roomali didn't cut it. Curry in a Hurry also is just not that good. If I am in a huge hurry, I would much rather stop in at Haandi or Lahore and enjoy my takeaway.

              10 Replies
              1. re: JungMann
                c
                comiendosiempre Jul 30, 2009 08:37 PM

                Thank you for posting that info. It is very helpful, even to those who are familiar with the area. I will have to try Dhaba.

                1. re: JungMann
                  b
                  brettnyc Jul 31, 2009 10:54 AM

                  Yeah I agree with what comiendo said, I'm in curry hill pretty frequently but this gives me some new ideas. Looking forward to trying haandi's biryani in particular.

                  Regarding Kalustyan's, I actually think its best virtue is not for finding ingredients one has in mind and is looking for, but for discovering ingredients one has never even thought to seek out/variations on ingredients one didn't know existed. The array of what they have is pretty incredible and can provide for interesting discoveries. For more straight ahead spice shopping for example though, I usually go to Penzeys.

                  1. re: JungMann
                    b
                    brettnyc Aug 5, 2009 06:20 AM

                    BTW, got some biryani from Haandi last night and agree that it is surprisingly good. This was my first Haandi experience and am looking forward to more of their biryani soon.

                    1. re: brettnyc
                      JungMann Aug 5, 2009 06:43 AM

                      Glad to hear we came to the same conclusion on Haandi's chicken biryani (or were you lucky enough to have beef or mutton)? You'll have to let us know if you come across any other surprises.

                      1. re: JungMann
                        b
                        brettnyc Aug 5, 2009 07:42 AM

                        Yes it was indeed the chicken biryani. Will certainly post about follow up Haandi experiences per any additional chow-worthy food there! One thing I've heard but have not yet been myself, is that Haandi can be a fun scene for late-ish evening tea.

                        1. re: brettnyc
                          JungMann Aug 5, 2009 07:44 AM

                          What time is late-ish? I have been there for tea around 4 or 6 and I have been there for munchies post-midnight. Both situations were as dour as a Waziristan widow.

                          1. re: JungMann
                            b
                            brettnyc Aug 5, 2009 07:51 AM

                            Interesting. Like I said I haven't been for tea yet(at any time), and also I don't know the person who mentioned this very well. I think she was talking about like 10pm-ish. I'll pop by there sometime around 10 to check it out. I don't think the woman who mentioned this is a regular there, so either it all depends on the timing, or she happened upon an unusual night there. But I'll note the dourness at the other times you mentioned!

                          2. re: brettnyc
                            bigjeff Aug 5, 2009 08:24 AM

                            what's the definition of fun? thanks all on this biryani tip; will check it out.

                            1. re: bigjeff
                              b
                              brettnyc Aug 5, 2009 08:43 AM

                              I think the definition of fun per the late evening Haandi tea was relatively bustling, talkative, friendly, lively. I'll check this out to see if its an on-going thing, or if the woman I know who mentioned this lucked out when she went, maybe there were a couple of large outgoing groups there by chance.

                            2. re: brettnyc
                              p
                              Peter Cherches Aug 5, 2009 10:07 AM

                              I think Haandi does better biryani than that biryani place on Bleecker that got some hype when it opened.

                              http://petercherches.blogspot.com

                      2. t
                        taystahl Jul 30, 2009 08:33 AM

                        Thanks all!

                        1. p
                          Peter Cherches Jul 31, 2009 12:55 PM

                          Dhaba for non-veg & veg,, no question, Saravanaas for the Tamil veg. thalis, and some of the other South Indian places probably do dosas and uttapams as good as Saravanaas, but I'm not up to date on the bunch.

                          http://petercherches.blogspot.com

                          1. j
                            Jorel Aug 1, 2009 07:19 AM

                            I'm a fan of Saravanaas on 26th & Lex. Great dosa and utthapam.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Jorel
                              p
                              Peter Cherches Aug 1, 2009 08:18 AM

                              I'm so enamored of the thalis, I think I've only had the dosa once, as part of the mini-tiffin, and haven't tried their uttapam.

                              The old Dosa Hut that for a while had the conflicting name Saravana Bhavan and then became something else had the best uppma I've had in the states. The closest Saravanaas has is rava kichidi, but I don't care for it as much. Does anybody know of a great uppma?

                            2. bigjeff Aug 3, 2009 07:06 PM

                              if you tire of the lexington area options (chennai garden / tiffin wallah / saravanaas / dhaba) give Sonali a go (used to be famous curry) although truth be told, I haven't eaten there in many months (I think I got sick of the food). but it's very good.

                              -----
                              Sonali
                              15 E 31st St, New York, NY 10016

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: bigjeff
                                b
                                brettnyc Aug 3, 2009 09:23 PM

                                I'll have to give Sonali a go, I remember seeing some of your positive posts on it I think when it was Famous Curry.

                                1. re: brettnyc
                                  bigjeff Dec 1, 2009 11:25 AM

                                  ya it has totally gone off the hill. was much better before. makes me sad.

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