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Aug 11, 2009 07:04 AM

Aaheli in Hell's Kitchen

Has anyone tried Aaheli on 9th Ave betw 54/55th?

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  1. Went there twice this past week after a recommendation from a relative who was raving about it. Prices are fairly reasonable with good portions and DELICIOUS food. Tried a bunch of the kormas, samosas (good but we go to Jackson Hts all the time so wasn't blown away but the potato ones were quite good -) meat samosas were the only dissappointment 0 bland filled with chopped lamb no real seasonings
    Had 3 different lamb dishes over the 2 days. Lamb Ghost - excellent, #3 (owners favorite) but forgot name - lots of ginger - really great & lamb korma - least favorite because meat was not that soft and sauce was good but not as good as I remember from London restaurants.
    Nan is excellent - which is not always the case
    ditto basmati rice and the pillaf we had was vegetarian (due to one of our friends dietary restrictions) and was good but would have preferred lamb or chicken I think.

    chicken curry was surprisingly good - not boring as expected.

    and there was a cabbage dish from the vegetarian section that was outstanding (towards bottom of menu I think)

    spinach - paleek paneer as well as spinach with potato, cauliflower almost as good as Minas in QUeens - very tasty and fresh.

    didn't try the mango lassi but my friends son enjoyed it.

    over all a good experience and quite reasonably priced. TIny place - maybe 20 can be seated tops. Gets crowded fast.

    1. I tried it last night. Solid neighborhood spot for Indian. We had the meat samosa to start, which came with 2 good sized and good tasting samosas. For mains, we had chicken tikka masala and the chick pea vegetarian dish. Both were good. My only complaint, which applies to many Indian restaurants, is that the naan is too expensive and only comes 1 piece per order. However, the garlic naan was really good, so it wasn't a bad deal I suppose. Plus, service was very nice. We had a small service-related issue and the manager/owner (not sure which, but he seemed to be in charge), was very gracious and even brought us a desert on the house.

      1. Thanks, both. I am hooked on the baigan bharta!

        1. We went there once and then ordered delivery tonight. This place is great for Hell's Kitchen - I'm sure there is as good/better Indian in Curry Hill and certainly in Queens, but if you need a local place that is tasty, not greasy, has good variety, and cheap prices, then Aaheli fits that bill.

          We went on a Saturday night a few weeks ago with 4 people. Called them in the afternoon and were able to secure a reservation for that night, and when our dinner guests were stuck in crosstown traffic, we called and they were totally accommodating in pushing our reservation later. The place is small, they serve NO ALCOHOL, just a few tables and one or two waiters. It wasn't too crowded on a Saturday at about 9:00, but still a few tables. It was also a little quiet, I think they had music playing but it was very soft so when we talked, it felt like we were talking very loudly (we weren't though). Anyway, on to the food:

          We ordered 4 dishes family style based entirely on things we like elsewhere: Chicken Biryani, Lamb Vindaloo, Saag Paneer, and Dal (we ordered the "Dal of 9th Avenue" - which was a Yellowish Dal). Because none of them were an appetizer, they sent us a comp appetizer plate of deep fried veggies in a tempura-like batter. We got cauliflower, mushrooms, eggplants, and a few others. Although they were a little heavier than tempura, and didn't have a ton of flavor other than the veggies themselves, they were tasty when dipped in one of three or four sauces we had. A very nice gesture, of course, and we were very thankful for the little present.

          The next dishes sort of staggered out, which was fine. The Chicken Biryani was delicious, great flavor, nicely cooked long grain rice, and not spicy at all, although the chicken was a tad on the dry side. Served with a very nice raita. The Lamb Vindaloo was SPICY, too spicy for my wife and my friend's wife, but we both liked it (it was very spicy). The cooling raita was great with it, too. The Saag Paneer was great, flavorful spinach and with big chunks of cheese. The Dal was great too, excellent lentil flavor. We also ordered their combo naan plate, which had regular naan, garlic naan, and herb naan - all were great, and we got a LOT of bread, enough to take home. Between the four of us, we were all full - not stuffed - and were able to take enough home for my wife and I to each get a lunch out of it.

          The food was great, and to make it even better, it was only $40 for all of it! They also had some drinks like Mango Lassi, but we just went with water and were happy. An excellent experience.

          Tonight we ordered delivery, we tried the Lamb Biryani, the Chicken Tikka Masala, and the Garlic Naan. The Lamb in the Biryani was fantastic, falling apart tender, really great flavor. To be honest, I wasn't crazy about the Tikka Masala, it was a little too tomato-ey for me, didn't have that nice melding of flavors. It kinda tasted like a more "Americanized" version. I've definitely had better Tikka Masala out of a lunch buffet. Naan was very good too. The best part of this was that it was hot, came in about 30 minutes, and tasted just as good as in the restaurant.

          Definitely the best Indian food in Hell's Kitchen, and a permanent add to our delivery choices.

          826 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

          4 Replies
          1. re: jakecola

            "they sent us a comp appetizer plate of deep fried veggies in a tempura-like batter."

            Just FYI, the name for that is Pakoras.

            I'll keep this place in mind for the times I'm in that neighborhood.

            1. re: Pan

              Thanks Pan, good to know for future reference. Yes, like I said, there's probably better Indian in this city, but definitely NOT in Hell's Kitchen.

              1. re: jakecola

                try the fried okra - krispy strips of fried okra with some delicious seasonings. Incredibly good. Have eaten there 4 times over the past 4 monthes and have never been dissappointed.

                1. re: tigerwoman

                  Just wanted to say we ate at Aaheli again last night and their sauces are really incredible. We had some sort of fish stew - great. The fried Okra was incredible, and two types of dal - one with ginger (we didn't order, joined some friends who had already ordered) The grilled tandoori shrimp was good not great but tasty and the only ehhh thing was the grilled lamb chops which had no seasoning - good meat but well done and not seasoned. Nothing bad and overall still some amazing tastes. I am surprised this place hasn't caught on with the chowhound crowd cause they have alot of unusual items not just standard indian restaurant fare.