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Oct 29, 2009 05:01 PM

Southern Spice: seems to be getting better and better

When I first began going it was fantastic. It might be my imagination, but it seems to be getting even better. Dishes have been added (see other posts) and old ones refined. I think the breads, in particular the onion kulcha, are the best I have ever had. The onions inside are voluminous and fresh, with tons of seeds and spices. The dum biryani seems to be tastier than ever, with exceptionally tender flavor saturated meat. Does anyone else notice this place just getting better all the time? Could it be an added concentration of attention now that Manny is closing the 2d ave spot? I think it is in prime form, and chowhounds are OBLIGED to go!

Southern Spice
1635 Hillside Ave, New Hyde Park, NY 11040

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  1. I think that Chef is always looking to add new items and it gets better and better. The lunch buffet offers items not included on the menu. This past weekend we had an incredible dish of cabbage flavored with onions, mustard seeds, spices and coconut which added a surprisingly complimentary mellow accent. Of course I was happy to find bindi (okra) on the buffet table. Yummy! We also had a new chili naan (I'm not sure if it's on the menu) offered up by Lovie.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mushimushi427

      Chili naan! I have to ask him about that...

    2. Does anyone know where I can view a menu?

      I have heard good things recently and would like to check it out.
      Ive read about the following, any more suggestions and ideas

      An appetizer of milagai bajji ($3), green hot pepper stuffed with potatoes and coated with chickpea and rice flours.
      Chicken 65 ($6) 65 ingredients?!?!?!?!?
      Sura puttu ($9), "scrambled shark," shredded shark meat with mustard and fennel seeds, cilantro, curry leaves, dried chilies and the occasional cardamom pod.
      karaikudi nandu varuval ($15), a slow-cooked crab made Chettinad style, which has to be ordered in advance.

      12 Replies
      1. re: Asumnuthin

        My daughter LOVES the mint goat curry and I love the lamb sukka. Chicken 65 is always super and the Biryani is Southern Spice's specialty. I recommend the buffet lunch, you can try a small sample of several dishes and everything tastes fresh.

        Southern Spice
        1635 Hillside Ave, New Hyde Park, NY 11040

        1. re: Asumnuthin

          I ordered takeout 2-3 weeks ago. The stuffed peppers were good, but the Chicken 65 and the Lamb Varuval were absolutely fantastic, flavorful, spicy. Plan on trying other things on the menu as well.

          Some photos of the menu courtesy of Eating in Translation's Dave Cook:

          Southern Spice
          1635 Hillside Ave, New Hyde Park, NY 11040

          1. re: csabi26

            I tried the Lamb Varuval for the first time today. It was one of the best dishes I have had there. I love the dry spice coated style. Right up with chicken 65 and their excellent chana masala.

            1. re: NYJewboy

              Omigosh! I thought Manny put out a new dish. I didn't realize that there was another word after Lamb Sukka. This was one of the two first dishes we were served at Southern Spice. We walked in and asked Lovey and Chef Manny to select our meal for the evening.

              Southern Spice
              1635 Hillside Ave, New Hyde Park, NY 11040

              1. re: mushimushi427

                I spoke to him this evening and he was telling me about a goat brain dish he makes. I think it won't make it to the menu, but it sounds interesting. Brain is really pushing it for me, but if there is anywhere I would eat brain it would be here. I had the shark this evening and it was sublime. We have to be thankful for this place. Rare indeed!

                1. re: NYJewboy

                  Off subject but we had a fab brain dish at Ali's Kabab Café. It was served hot and then scrambled table side with egg. We had to eat it quickly with pita, because after a while it began to congeal. It was a very tasty savory dish though.

                  Kabab Cafe
                  25-12 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11103

                  1. re: NYJewboy

                    The Gastronauts food club is going to Southern Spice and having the brain dish among others. It sold out in minutes (I missed it) but here is the menu for those who are interested. Watch the web site for updates from the event.

                    SOUTHERN SPICE
                    Rabbit Masala
                    Varutha Moolai (Goat Brain )
                    Crab masala Uthappam
                    Sura Puttu (Shark Scrambled)
                    Vowvaal Mean (pomfreet steamed in banana leaf)
                    Tandoori spicy duck breast

                    1. re: dhs

                      Manny told me about this yesterday. It is tonight, isn't it?

                      1. re: NYJewboy

                        Yes I believe so. As mentioned, it is sold out and most likely a long waiting list for any openings from cancellations

                    2. re: NYJewboy

                      Brain is pushing it for me too. Reminds me of my grandmother trying to push me to eat that stuff.

                      I think we have to open a facebook group for Southern Spice. Tortilleria Nixtamal in Corona has's rather amazing and useful.

                      Tortilleria Nixtamal
                      104-05 47th Ave, Queens, NY 11368

                      Southern Spice
                      1635 Hillside Ave, New Hyde Park, NY 11040

                      1. re: mushimushi427

                        We just had our first taste of southern spice this week. I thought the goat biryani was the best of many years of Indian eating in NY. the scrambled shark dish was also delicious. The two vegetables we had were less outstanding - maybe I should have gone with an eggplant. Im eager to find an opportunity to eat there with a group of meateaters since the meat and fish dishes appear to shine.

              2. re: Asumnuthin

                God, I can't wait to eat here. Chicken 65 is a common dish in India, esp. in more rough-and-tumble restaurants. It doesn't have 65 ingredients, but I don't think anyone really knows why it's called that. Wikipedia has some fun theories -- I myself believe that is was once #65 on some menu somewhere.

              3. After discovering all the glowing reports on CH, we made the trek last night! Woo-hoo it was awesome. Had chicken 65, fried pepper fritters, goat, crab cakes kerala style, and a special of tandoori duck, with garlic naan. My favorite was the goat and the pepper fritters. I think that garlic naan is a mistake with food so flavorful, the strong garlic flavor distracts from all the intense interplay of the spices (and I love garlic!). The entrees offered a wonderful array of different sauces: the goat was a dark, wonderful sauce, the crab had a bight, creamy, cilantro-laden sauce, and the duck had a nice tangy orange sauce (tamarind?).

                A side note, there's a big sign on the front saying no BYOB, but not knowing the policy, we had brought along a bottle of Deus beer. They let us drink it out of paper cups (maybe because we were the only customers?). Anyway, it was a nice pairing.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Mandymac

                  When did the BYOB policy change? Are they serving beer now? Part of the ritual used to be buying a couple big Kingfishers across the street and lugging them over. Glad to hear about all the menu changes. Haven't been in the city for several months, but look forward to returning in January and eating at Southern Spice at least twice a week. The only other go-to restaurants we have picked are Le Cirque, Jean-Georges and Blue Hill. I'm just as excited about eating at Southern Spice as I am about the others.

                  1. re: bruce3404

                    So happy they are in such good company!

                    No Sripraphai?

                    1. re: NYJewboy

                      Oh, they're on the list, too. So many places, so little time.

                2. I tried Southern Spice the last time I was in Flushing recently. I ordered a chicken dish in a mint gravy, eggplant in a tamarind gravy and the onion kulcha.

                  I don't see the chicken dish listed on the takeout menu in front of me. At first bite I wasn't too impressed, but by the time my chicken and kulcha were gone I was spooning up the last few spoonfuls of the gravy and just eating it like soup.

                  I didn't like the eggplant dish as much and I'm usually a big fan of eggplant. Maybe the tamarind gravy just isn't for me, but I didn't think the eggplant itself was so hot. The spice level was perfect, until I went and bit into the chile pepper that was giving the dish its heat and turned it into a double vindaloo. My own fault, of course.

                  The shark dish sounds interesting. And that cabbage dish that isn't on my takeout menu and don't recall from the restaurant.

                  1. Made it here for the first time tonight, and all i can say is "Wow!"

                    We had:

                    chicken 65
                    nilgiri chicken (mint coconut gravy)
                    lamb sukka (dry sauteed lamb)
                    sura puttu (shark scramble)
                    pappu kooraku (spinach lentil mash)
                    noona vankaya (eggplant in tamarind gravy)
                    veg biriyani
                    garlic nan

                    it was all delicious. It started with the samosas, which were crisp and light, not at all heavy like the ones you get everywhere else. It was the kind of meal where you can't stop eating because you can't decide which flavor you want in your mouth last. You think you want to end with one flavor, but then you realize you want to end with something else. And so on.

                    I don't go out much for indian food, as i tend to think i make better at home. (except for south indian snack things like dosa and iddly as i don't make those at home--tho i did just buy an iddly steamer), but i will definitely return to southern spice and recommend it to all my friends.

                    Thanks chowhounds! I wouldn't know about this place if it wasn't for you guys. That's why i love this board.

                    1 Reply