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Neerob in Parkchester

Alright now that my friend finished his NYC Serious Eats article I feel like I can post this.

Absolutely the best Bangladeshi food in NYC. I've eaten a lot of it and I've been eating a lot of it since I was 17. This place beats my favorite spot in London on everything but certain shutki dishes.

It's amazingly cheap and orders can be done in half portions allowing for a very Bangladeshi meal of 3-6 small portions with a big plate of rice and some dal. I personally veer towards the fish and admittedly we haven't tried any of their meat dishes yet, but that's largely because their fish is so good. They also carry a full range of shutki items including lothia shutki, fish chatni, shutki chatni, etc.

The staff are amazingly friendly, in particular the owner Khokon (house name.)

All in all I personally think that this place is worth traveling to. It's a very quick walk from Castle Hill Ave on the 6 train.

Justin

http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2011/0...

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Neerob
2109 Starling Ave, Bronx, NY 10462

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  1. Just read that post. Looks awesome. I definitely need to check it out.

    1. It's a small but interesting Bangladeshi neighborhood all around. But rather than ride another green line, the 5, to Gun Hill Ave., Chowhounds should be sure to ride the 6 (as you wrote) to Castle Hill Ave. It's quite a hike otherwise.

      2 Replies
      1. re: DaveCook

        Hahaha! Huge mistake on my part! I didn't even realize! Yeah, Castle Hill Avenue indeed! I wish I could edit my original post as that's pretty bad.

        This place is as legit a Bangladeshi restaurant as I've seen in the US and its only competitor is called Gram Bangla in London. Their desserts are way above average bordering on great too.

        1. re: JFores

          JF: If you "report" the original post to the mods, they'll edit it for you....

      2. What do you think of the nearby places? This nabe has come up from time to time here (Neerob apparently succeeded Al-Aqsa, mentioned in this discussion from a couple years ago). ... http://www.chow.com/digest/5808/south...

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        Al-Aqsa
        2109 Starling Ave, Bronx, NY 10462

        7 Replies
        1. re: squid kun

          We tried the pitha and chat place across the road and it had probably the best Bangladeshi chats I've had in NYC outside of a household and the only pitha I've ever seen for sale (they're a winter sweet in BD and I just haven't seen them here. They're fried fresh to order there too.)

          I went into a place further down the road (the one with the big PAAN in the window) but nothing caught my eye. I've not yet stepped foot into Grameen directly across the road.

          1. re: JFores

            Thanks, J - great post. Tell us more about your go-to fish dishes, if you have time: what's in them and how to order them. Polecat's rui and "beef soup" also sound terrific.

            1. re: squid kun

              The stuff we ate which wasn't included in the review, but which I found to be particularly good were the keski mas (baby anchovies cooked with onions, spices, etc), the bhegun bhorta is really fantastic and wasn't given much air time if any in the SE review, the sardine curry may have been mentioned but that was also amazing. The sardines looked like ilish mas and I asked if that was the case, but he named another mas (instead) and I think it was the Bangla word for sardine. Can't remember it right now.

              Like the review says, go up and ask what they have. They'll try to gravitate you towards biriyani and meat to protect foreigners, but a lot of the gold is in the seafood. It's good to hear that the biriyani was fantastic though. I wasn't so impressed with the fish chatni, but I'm spoiled by an amazing version of it in the UK. On the other hand the chhingri bhorta (fish bhorta/chutney) is really good. It's crushed mung dal, dried shrimp and an intense amount of mustard oil and chili. I haven't tried their fried fish as I tend to pass on non-freshly fried fish and it's rarely freshly fried in Bangladeshi places, but maybe I have to give it a shot. I'd like to go again this weekend if I get the chance.

              Not mentioned in the review, but you can request paan at the end of your meal. You have to roll it yourself though. Tobacco paan only FYI, if you like that sort of thing (I chew far too much of it.)

          2. re: squid kun

            I was headed to dinner elsewhere, and I made a detour down Starling only because of a food stall near the Parkchester station:

            http://www.eatingintranslation.com/20...

            Except for a little rehydration, the rest of that detour was a scouting trip only. Still haven't been back that way.

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            Starling Coffee Shop
            2172 Starling Ave, Bronx, NY 10462

            1. re: DaveCook

              Those are coconut pitha and that's the same snack place I mentioned.

              1. re: DaveCook

                Dave and Justin, Taqueria Tlaxcalli seems to be getting good reviews in the same nabe. Have either of you been there yet? ... Please let us know.

                Taqueria Tlaxcalli
                2103 Starling Avenue
                Bronx, NY 10462-4307
                (347) 851-3085

                1. re: Cheese Boy

                  No, but it's practically next door. I'll grab something the next time I'm up there.

            2. Luckily, I was in the area today (Morris Park, actually - not far at all) with the car, so I swung over here for lunch. Arrived at about 11:40am. The first thing that struck me was how fresh everything behind the counter looked and how full each heating tray was. It all looked really good.

              I went with the lamb biryani, a mixed assortment of vegetables, a fresh-from-the-kitchen order of Rui (or carp - see the helpful Serious Eats link) in a thick curry sauce. The biryani was easily the best of its' kind that I've had, no contest there. The rice was complex and aromatic, the lamb chunks very plentiful, moist, tender and flavorful. The veggies had the best spice factor of anything I tried. The rui was nicely fried and crisp in places. It's a tender yet meaty fish and tasted very fresh. I took pleasure in ravenously tearing the skin - my favorite part - off with my teeth in one bite, like a savage. Some bones lay in wait, but this one is mostly meat. They also had stuffed, whole tilapia, which looked very good. The chef came out, about mid meal, and placed down a small bowl of something he identified as "beef soup", which contained torn bits of fattyt, red beef in a thick, oily broth surrounding a big bone. Although I wasn't able to find out what kind of beef this was, the taste reminded me of ox-tail, which I've had several times in various Korean kitchens. This was basically a bowl of dense, congealed fat, and I mean this in the best way. It's pure thickness, oil and flavor, not for the waist-conscious but absolutely delicious. The bone had residues of fat sticking to it - best for sucking off. This and the biryani are dishes I would come all the way back for, but there was so much other delicious-looking stuff.

              The chef made that quick appearance and then, just as quick, dropped from sight. The woman behind the counter was very nice, but I couldn't get the name of that soup out of her. I need to brush up on my Bengali.

              Really good meal here today, glad I came. Don't leave without chasing it all down with a milk tea. They make it nice and thick here, and I detect an aromatic spice or two in there that gives it a real depth of flavor. Perhaps cardamom?

              P.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Polecat

                I think they've got cardamon, cloves and condensed milk in it. Bangladeshi tea is always made with condensed milk

                1. re: JFores

                  "Bangladeshi tea is always made with condensed milk"
                  Not surprising. This was thick. Good, t hick stuff.
                  p.

                2. re: Polecat

                  thanks for the report Polecat. I've been looking for good biryani in nyc for awhile so this is all very promising. I notice you travelled by car but do you know if this is close to the subway?

                  1. re: deabot

                    It's a 3 minute walk from Castle Hill on the 6.

                3. Although I found everyone in Neerob very helpful, I had only so so food. The Goat Biryani was very average. Dry chunks of flavorless meat and lukewarm rice.

                  I also had the vegetable curry, again it was just average.

                  The standout was the chicken tandoori. Oh and the spiced tea for the drive home, so milky and sweet!

                  Given the wonderful reviews and how often I am in the neighborhood I will give it a few more trys.

                  Oh, if you are thinking of driving. Parking is just hell. So few spaces, lots of cut curbs, and many Taxi and Limo drives hogging spots.

                  Be prepared to park illegally or take a subway....

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                  Neerob
                  2109 Starling Ave, Bronx, NY 10462

                  8 Replies
                    1. re: JFores

                      What would you suggsset. I ordered the birayani based on the rave review here

                      Fish dishes? From reading your posts I would guess fish.

                      1. re: driggs

                        I'll own up to the biryani rec and still stand behind it. Suffice to say that it was a whole lot better when I went. I'm not big into the whole "ordering wrong" argument. I like to go with a combination of what's touted here and also what looks good. Sometimes a so-called specialist can do lots of things well.

                        Our experiences here, Driggs, were inversed
                        I found parking right outside within minutes. I owe you some karma.
                        P

                        1. re: Polecat

                          Ha! Thanks. Although I don't wish bad parking on you, I do wish good parking on me.
                          Yes, I often find the ordering wrong argument to be a bit flat, but I have followed many of the posters here and generally mesh with their tastes. So I was surprised by the food being so whatever.

                          I am a big believer that ambience often trumps food, and especially if its a new experience. On that front, this place was just great. Everyone was so kind and generous and willing to help me.

                          I look forward to exploring the area and the community with my camera soon. parkchester is not a part of the Bronx I know that well.

                          1. re: driggs

                            I couldn't agree more that parking can be hellish and. Biryani can be average at best.

                            But that's not always the case. Friday afternoon parking was reasonable with scattered open spaces. I got one right in front of the restaurant. There were chicken and beef biryanis were each excellent, moist with distinctive deep flavors.

                            Every time spinach, chili chicken, and an assortment of their snacks are must have for me. Strongly agree that the veg based curries can be special. For these you need to look beyond the front case and ask what's available. Space is a bit limited, so often there are a couple things in the kitchen they will tell you about.

                            Many good choices, but the CTM is something I'd never order specially given alternatives in the neighborhood .

                            Agree completely that the Neerob staff is very accommodating. If you have any question about something they will invariably offer a sample (other than larger fish). You might try this with the curries or biriyani before ordering if you are there again.

                            If you do explore the neighborhood, I'd recommend the tacqeria next door as an early stop.

                        2. re: driggs

                          Fish for the most part. Their veg is also excellent. Their biryani is pretty standard. It's the same as what you'd get at most Bangladeshi places (Ghoroa, etc.)

                          I'm not sure which dish would be veg curry, but just see what they have daily. Their veg dishes (and fish dishes) change quite a lot each day. If you walk over to the hand washing station and look left you'll see a bigger selection of veg. Their spinach, karela and potatoes and gourd are my favorites. Fish wise I'd also suggest that you avoid the more expensive whole fish dishes. The turnover on those is really low. The single best fish dish I've had there was a sardine curry. Their keski mas (really small sardines/anchovies) and their stewed rohu mas (carp) have also been very good.

                          Rice and dal is pretty much a must as well. In terms of rice, dal, Bangladeshi veg, fish stews/curries and sweets I'd say that Neerob serves food that is as good as most Bangladeshi home cooking I've had. Besides those I've only eaten the biryani once and I had a lamb curry another time. The curry was decent, but I didn't think much of the biryani. Similarly the chicken tikka looks like it has an insanely low turnover.

                          I can't really say though. I haven't been since the meal of the NYT write up and I'm out of the country for a while (eating really good biryani.)

                          1. re: JFores

                            Been to Neerob a few times since the NYT review, and the high quality has been maintained. The last time I ate there Khokon told me that he's looking to move into a larger space on the street, as the current location is just too small.

                            1. re: NewYorkNewHaven

                              Looking at the online menu for Neerob [btw, someone pls tell them that they spell their name correctly in English but wrong in the Bangala script, a matter for shame], it seems that, like NYC Chinese places, there is a menu for non-Bengalis, and another for Bengalis.

                              This English menu is the former, with a short, unrepresentative selection of the "real" offerings. Most of the latter are an acquired taste for many. Anyway, here are some clues to the Biryani puzzle encountered by Driggs & others.

                              Please note that there is a "Special" Kacchi Biryani, $8, presumably offered Fri-Sun. There is also the Goat & the Chicken Biryani, also $8, offered every day, if I decipher correctly. These 2 types, the kacchi & the ordinary, may have been at the root of your distinctly dissimilar experiences, the former trumping the latter (?).

                              I would urge people to try the more unfamiliar TEHARI, Khichuri, Polao, Morog Polao [cockerel pilaf], and Elish Polao [pilaf of Hilsa Fish]. Obviously, only a few at a time, or take friends.

                              With Khichuri, a dry preparation, or fried vegetable, e.g. Beguni, is advised.

                              Chanadal is a good idea in a Bdesh restaurant, paired with wholewheat chapati, to offer respite to the palate. Ask for fresh lime with it, and enjoy the unalloyed flavors. Khichuri is rice + a mix of hulled legumes, so people do not eat dal when taking Khichuri, but you can be bold. Eggplant bharta is an idea, as is potato.

                              Chicken Roast & Goat Curry are worth trying. The former is NOT what you suspect it to be!!

                              If you are feeling adventurous, tell the chef you want to try the PETI/PAYTI pieces of Ilish machh in mustard paste, shorshey baataa or BHETKI fish if they have such. These are not whole fish like pomfret [roopchaanda] but fish darnes cut from an entire fish.

                              For vegetables, ask if they have anything with LAU [bottlegourd], or Cauliflower.

                              Well, that's a tiny foray off the beaten track. If it works out for you, we can plan on even more adventurous ideas.

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                              Neerob
                              2109 Starling Ave, Bronx, NY 10462