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Nov 4, 2010 12:44 PM

Jackson Diner coming to University Pl.: what to expect?

There is an air of expectation in the Central Village as we've seen the Jackson Diner sign go up where the mediocre Spice Cafe used to be. They served over-priced, under-spiced curries, but the ambiance was nice enough, and when it first opened it was a decent alternative to 6th St. venues. Only in the last years did it become really bad....I read about Jackson Diner in years past as THE reason to go to Jackson Heights. The curries were said to be authentic and could be had "desi" hot. In reading more current reviews, it could be construed that they've lost some of the magic as they grew more popular. I wouldn't know.Though I go to Queens for great Thai, I haven't yet tried Jackson Heights. So, if anyone knows how good the food being put out these days at JD is, what can we expect? Having lived in London, I've had ( what I consider) good Indian food and can eat it spicier than anyone I know. My biggest fear, then, is the dumbing down syndrome, where you have to beg & beg and STILL it's seasoned too blandly. I usually ask the server to have the chef make it the way his father likes it. Then the vindaloo has some kick to it. We so need good Indian here. I've had a few bad experiences at Brick Lane; food taking forever and being a bit expensive for what it was. Nothing I've ever had in NYC has touched what I had in London. Should we be getting our hopes up or not?

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  1. The Jackson Diner in Queens hasn't been good in years. So the subtext is "Branch of bad Queens restaurant to open in Manhattan."

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bob Martinez

      agreed. Jackson Diner hasn't been good for awhilee.

    2. woof, brick lane is way over priced and that phaal curry was renamed "fail curry" by my friends after we managed to eat it without breaking a sweat.

      1 Reply
      1. re: selenster

        Thank you, Selenster! I thought it was just my sticker shock over most everything to blame at Brick Lane. I left thoroughly peeved by the time it took for entrees to appear, the warmth of the beers, ( it was a hot summer day), and the absurd prices.

      2. As one of those that started going to Jackson Diner in its earlier days at its old location and then stayed with it when it moved, let me say that it's been mediocre for over 10 years and downright bad for the last 3 or so (although I cant be 100% sure since I havent set foot in it more than once in the past year or so). The current food there isnt better than the 6th St joints (although not as greasy) &, although there arent that many places I'd recommend in Manhattan, I dont think anyone should be anticipating this opening with too much hope.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Steve R

          FWIW, I'm with you guys.

          Jackson Diner is the only restaurant that I may have killed (except for those that died from lack of traffic and maybe I failed to rave highly enough). Some people liked it in the early days of its new location, but I think it crapped out a few years before that. But, once upon a time, in the late 1980's, it was the absolute bomb. The murgh tikka palakwala. My God.

          Jackson Diner
          72 University Pl, New York, NY 10003

          1. re: Jim Leff

            Yes, exactly: the mugh tikka palakwala--which, btw, is not on the menu at University Place. (I took one for the team.)

        2. haha, another bad indian restaurant in manhattan; snap! but seriously, they might make a big push in the beginning but yeah, there's just so much better available in queens.

          1. Seems I may be the only one on chowhound who still likes Jackson Diner. now I never got to go back in its hey day, but I went there a few weeks ago and enjoyed the food. It's not as spicy as it probably should be, but I thought the flavors were all distinct and the tandoori combo was tender and the saag paneer was excellent.

            Maybe not the "best Indian" in the city as was once the claim, but still a good option in my mind.


            Jackson Diner
            72 University Pl, New York, NY 10003

            1 Reply
            1. re: eatthisny

              It used to be stupendous. Their best dishes on their best nights are still unequaled in my very rich subsequent Indian food experience.

              So all my disparagement comes relative to those lofty heights!