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Best Mithai (Indian Sweets) in Curry Hill

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i did some searching and it seems like Bhojan is popular (was also well reviewed for its sweets by the Voice last year)

Do any of the other places make their own? I know we got some pretty good barfi from kalustyans for diwali, and while i thought they said they were made there, i think it was a special occasion thing and not available at other times of year.

Would be willing to make multiple stops too if only a specific type of sweet can be recommended (looking for barfi, rasmalai, gulab jamun).

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Bhojan
102 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

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  1. The halal market on 28th and Lexington says they make their own mithai, but after Bhojan opened up, I stopped going as their peda is better than the ladoo I would typically get elsewhere. I think there is also a cell phone shop on the East side of Lexington that has mithai the owner's wife makes and sells. I haven't been by in a while, so I'm not certain if they're still there, but if you see an electronics store with a menu, you'll know you're in the right place.

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    Bhojan
    102 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

    3 Replies
    1. re: JungMann

      any guess what the cross street of the cell phone shop is? which halal shop at 28th and lex are you talking about? which side of the street/which street? did some quick google street-viewing but couldnt find an obvious candidate.

      1. re: tex.s.toast

        The halal shop I'm thinking of is called Spice Corner. It's actually on 29th. The cell phone shop is between 28th and 27th, I think.

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        Spice Corner
        135 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

        1. re: JungMann

          2 different cell phone shops have been converted into a grocery, and a sweets shop respectively. The sweets shop may have brought back cellular products if business was bad. In any case, they're next to the Kabab Factory or whatever the Khati Roll place is named now, at 101 Lexington.

    2. Bhojan was very good for sweets originally (search for my Bhojan v Vatan post). It has reduced its offerings now and isn't worth much (based on two visits recently). We're down to zero as far as good mithai goes in Manattan.

      See http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6520... for my account of the decline of Bhojan.

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      Vatan
      409 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10016

      Bhojan
      102 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

      13 Replies
      1. re: FoodDabbler

        What a shame. At $2 a piece their sweets were on the high side, and the layout wasn't really convenient for popping in and browsing their selection. That said, from what I can tell, they haven't given up on their dessert offerings entirely, it just depends on timing.

        1. re: sugartoof

          Have you been in when they've had a selection of sweets? Part of that front display case is now occupied by white wines (or was when I was there last month). That did not bode well for the Return of the Mithai.

          1. re: FoodDabbler

            2 dollars per piece??? that would have to be some stupendous mithai - at those prices IF they had any AND it looked good id probably have to buy and sample a piece before buying a box.

            The Spice Corner website lists their prices as 5.99 a lb, which seems pretty low and doesn't give me a ton of confidence in the quality.

            I will definitely be checking into both those options - and looking for the cell phone store/grocery/sweet shop - and report back with what we buy an how it is.

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            Spice Corner
            135 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

            1. re: tex.s.toast

              The $2 price was quoted by sugartoof, not me. I don't remember the per-piece price. I bought sweets there by weight and although the prices were higher than at other sweet places in the nbd ($10/lb seems to ring a bell) I felt they were commensurate with the quality. Milk sweets are highly perishable, and until they take America by storm and a sweet shop here can have the turnover it would in India prices are going to be high.

              1. re: FoodDabbler

                I went in shortly after they opened and asked how much per piece. It was by weight, and I was told it would come to roughly $2 per piece.

                They may have changed the price if people weren't buying it. I know I had hoped to pick up a single piece with the buck and change in my pocket, so I had to tell them I'd come back when I had more cash on me...and for some reason, I never have. I do stop and look in the window and consider it often, but the price seemed steep.

                I do agree about the quality being high.

              2. re: tex.s.toast

                I went to Spice Corner this week and the sweets were $6.99 per pound, which is fair. They had at least a dozen different sweets. Of course the variety and freshness cannot contend with the shops in Jackson Heights like Rajbhog or Delhi Palace but if for whatever reason you cannot go to Queens, this is a decent place. The spices and other packaged goods are very overpriced though, it is more than worth the short trip to Jackson Heights.

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                Spice Corner
                135 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

              3. re: FoodDabbler

                "Have you been in when they've had a selection of sweets?"

                They currently have a selection of at least 7-8 types with the top shelf of the case taken up entirely.

                The cell phone turned sweets shop previously mentioned is now just a cell store again.

                1. re: sugartoof

                  I was there today. They had three types -- kesar (saffron) pedha, milk burfi, and a nutty halwa. They also had rasmalai. The sweets were fresh, the rasmalai less so (but still OK). The milk burfi was the best of the lot.

                  I asked about the price. It *is* $2 per piece (possibly acceptable for their rather large and dense pedhas, but outrageous for thin 1" squares of their burfi). The price per lb. is $9 if you buy one kind, but (bizarrely) $12 if you get a mix. I got the mix. Two pedhas, 4 pieces of burfi, and 2 of the halwa cost $6.28. That's under 79 cents/piece. Four pieces of ras malai, plus the associated cream cost $3.24.

                  1. re: sugartoof

                    I recently went towards the end of the night. They had peda, barfi, halwa, gulab jamun and ras malai. Even at the end of the night, the gulab jamun was rather good.

                    1. re: JungMann

                      Were the gulab jamun in the large, slightly spongy style? That was the way they were the one time I had them there, and that's the style all over Manhattan. The purist in me balks at these. Gulab jamuns, like bagels, were once denser and smaller. They were made from solidified milk (khoya), preferably aged (green khoya, from the surface mold), with just a little flour. The Manhattan versions are breadier, as, sadly, are many versions all over India now. You have to search for a specialized Punjabi sweets store to get something closer to the old style. Still, if people like what they're getting I suppose it's useless to stand in the way. It's a fantasy of mine, though, that I'll be walking down the street and will encounter a dense, old-style gulab jamun in Manhattan.

                      1. re: FoodDabbler

                        They were as you describe, but I think they were a cut above the competition. Very often one gets gulab jamun that tastes stale with the consistency of a soggy weight or crumbly donut. These gulab jamuns were fresh, springy and had a moist crumb. Not as delicate as your standard, but not run-of-the-mill either.

                        1. re: JungMann

                          Oh yes, all the Bhojan sweets are terrific. One or two may fall short of the standards of absolute perfection, but they're still good. They're much better than anything else I've had in New York (and I include Queens), and they compare well with sweets in India.

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                          Bhojan
                          102 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

                      2. re: JungMann

                        Bhojan does not carry sweets any more. I'm not surprised, but I am saddened.

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                        Bhojan
                        102 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

              4. Stopped off at Spice Corner to pick up a box of sweets - the price wasnt bad, i got a good sized box (maybe 20 pieces give or take) of assorted mithai for about 20 bucks. i tried one piece of the kaju barfi which i thought was good and the besan barfi which i just dont think i care for even when its done perfectly. the guys were super nice and gave me a free piece to munch on as i left the store.

                as to gulab jamun - i bought the cut, coconut rolled kind which did have a little too much of the spongy donut-like crumb described above, but i dont recall ever seeing gulab jamun stored outside of the syrup in india and i'm curious if that (and obviously freshness) accounts for the differences in styles. spice corners GJ (both the cut ones w coconut and "regular" ones) were piled on plates in the mithai fridge, perhaps out of a fear that leaving them in the syrup would cause them to disintegrate before they are sold? in any case i think all these nuances are lost under the avalanche of sugar on my palette (im much more savory-inclined).

                thanks for all the replies

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                Spice Corner
                135 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

                4 Replies
                1. re: tex.s.toast

                  I have to admit I also have a savory palate, though I do enjoy a good motichoor laddoo on occasion. That said, I did find a Punjabi take away on Houston near Ludlow that has had pretty good mithai everytime I've visited. I believe the proprietor said they come from Al Naimat but I only asked once. Their savory food has also been quite as good as their sweets.

                  1. re: JungMann

                    thats good to know for the future - in often near the curry hill stretch of lex but the LES is also a frequent stop so ill def try to follow up on this. youre talking about the basement place on the uptown side of houston?

                    while it seems i have the ears of some of this boards more well-versed voices on indian, is there any place to get decent khandvi in the city?

                    1. re: tex.s.toast

                      My Gujarati friends haven't had much luck finding really good food in Curry Hill. You probably would need to head out to Jackson Heights, maybe Rajbhog.

                      As for my Indo-Pak takeaway, they're on the Southern side of Houston, between Ray's and the cheesesteak store. I've had parathas, samosa chaat and some kebabs and left relatively pleased.

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                      Punjabi Food Express
                      203 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                      1. re: tex.s.toast

                        I've never found really good khandvi in Manhattan. There's a mild version at Bhojan (see http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/703891 ). It's fresh, but muted. Years ago I had a decent version in Queens, but I forget where. That area or New Jersey are your best bets.

                        On the question of GJ outside syrup: there *is* a dry version available in India with crystallized syrup on the outside, rather than sitting in liquid. It tends to dry out, so needs to be sold and consumed sooner than later. The non-syrup versions in some Indian stores here are probably that way for ease of storage and selling. You don't need special containers.

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                        Bhojan
                        102 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016