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Nov 18, 2009 08:36 AM

Best Indian steam table in Murray Hill?

Any good Indian delis with prepared hot food ready to go? Like a yellow cab stand.

(Not loking for a restaurant with a take out menu or an AYCE lunch special.)

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  1. Assuming you're looking for lunch. I got a rec for Tiffin Wallah from chowhound several years ago. I enjoy it on the rare occasions that I go there. But my steam table exploration has been far from exhaustive, so there may be other options.

    But Tiffin Wallah is pretty good.

    Tiffin Wallah
    127 E 28th St, New York, NY 10016

    7 Replies
    1. re: egit

      Thanks, but actaually looking for a dedicated take-out place. Like the 1st street taxi stand.

      1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

        Oh, I'm sorry. I misunderstood your question.

        1. re: egit

          I changed my post. My fault, not your.

      2. re: egit

        Just to clarify, Tiffin Wallah falls under the All-You-Can-Eat Indian Lunch Buffet category. Other buffet contenders in the Murray/Curry Hill region include
        - Chennai Garden: Exclusively vegetarian like Tiffin Wallah, though I find Chennai's service and atmosphere to be slightly inferior ~$7
        - Copper Chimney: Full veg and non-veg offerings. Same management as Brick Lane down in the East Village. Flavorful enough. Atmosphere is clean. ~$10
        - Dhaba - Comparable to Copper Chimney when it comes to food. Full meat & veg buffet with all the standards. Newest of the bunch. Nicest interior (multi-level, comfortable). ~$10
        - Kebab Factory: Totally weird setup with kitchen occupying the ground level and tables tucked away in a subterranean dining cave/shelter. Well-intentioned staff but totally scattered service (on one visit the phone rang non-stop throughout my entire meal). Dishes pack plenty of flavor, but it's more of an a-la-carte all-you-can eat experiment - the waiter keeps taking orders until you've had enough, but the dishes that arrive aren't necessarily those you've ordered. Meatless AYCE ~$7; with Meat ~$9. Not quite as fast or as consistent as other lunch spots, but I'm always curious about what will show up at my table. Sort of a nightmare, actually, but with food that's very good. Sometimes.

        Steam Table(-ish) Establishments:
        - Haandi: barebones interior (upstairs - downstairs is a similarly-situated buffet), meat and veggie options, dirt cheap. Steam tables visible at the counter. A cabbie favorite, but I'm of the mind that says that's more to do with the price than the quality. ~$5-6
        - Sirtaj: Farther west (just North of Madison Square Park). Bleak cafeteria fluorescent-lit setup. Not certain they use actual steam tables, but it's damn fast. Good daily specials. ~$6-8
        - Minar: Similar to Sirtaj, but even more cafeteria-like. Cheap and spicy - Subtlety is not their strong suit when it comes to flavors. ~$7-9
        - Kalustyans: Steam table is located upstairs above the spice shop. I believe the steam table has more of an Eastern-Mediterranean slant (lentils/legumes galore), so not technically Indian despite the surrounding paraphernalia . Very good and very cheap nonetheless.

        That's all I've got - good luck

        123 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

        Tiffin Wallah
        127 E 28th St, New York, NY 10016

        Chennai Garden
        129 E 27th St, New York, NY 10016

        5 W 31st St, New York, NY 10016

        36 W 26th St, New York, NY 10010

        Copper Chimney
        126 E 28th St, New York, NY 10016

        1. re: CalJack

          Excellent post. Thx. Any good Khati Rolls in the area?

          1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

            Roomali specializes in Khati Rolls - Vegetarian rolls are 2 for $6-8, while meat options are 2-for-$8-11. One roll is never enough to fill me up, but I'm a bit of a fatty.
            I've yet to find a place that does them any cheaper, but there must be something in the neighborhood. In the past folks have reported sightings of various food carts (at least 1) along Lexington Ave in the upper 20s, but I've never laid eyes on them/it.

            Also, note that Tiffin Wallah and Chennai Garden will both allow you to fill a to-go container from their lunch buffet, which can make for a shocking amount of food if you do so strategically. I don't believe Copper Chimney permits buffet takeout, and I've never asked for it at Dhaba. Kabab Factory usually has a daily lunch special visible in steam trays when you walk in.

            Kabab Factory
            101 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

            97 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

            Dhaba Restaurant
            108 Lexington Ave Frnt 1, New York, NY 10016

          2. re: CalJack

            Great list. I always preferred Minar to Sirtaj. Roomali is definitely the place to go for rolls -- I miss these so much. Kalustyan's has the best samosas in the area.

        2. The only two steam tables that readily come to mind are Haandi and Lahori Kabab, both of which excel in certain areas and lack in others. I used to love the latter for their spicy meat samosas and juicy seekh kababs, but lately I have found both disappointing.

          Lahori Kabab
          124 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016