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May 21, 2012 04:15 PM

anyone tried aarpan indian on 5th ave?

we're desperate for some good indian within walking/delivery/anything distance. any reviews?

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  1. okay- i answered my own question. it's great! we walked over there in the rain with our expectations in check-- after years of trying the indian places in the surrounding neighborhoods and never finding anything remotely good, we weren't that hopeful. we were completely surprised. the food was fresh, spicy and delicious. everything tasted great. prices were on par with any other indian food i've ever ordered, and they were certainly eager to please and happy to see us. they allowed us to BYOB, not sure if that's a permanent thing as i saw a bar on one end of the place that was unstocked. anyway, highly recommended and again, SO much better than any of the competition in the neighborhood.

    5 Replies
    1. re: sararose

      do you mind telling us what you ordered? we rarely eat indian out (im pretty comfortable with cooking it myself) but i noticed from the linked menus in the post that they offer some less typical dishes outside the range of standard cookie cutter north indian spots. it would be kind of nice to have a nearby option if i didnt feel like cooking my own indian (for the record ive found kinara to be pretty servicable in an unassuming neighborhood kind of way).

      1. re: tex.s.toast

        sure. we ordered extremely cookie cutter options: the saag paneer, the chicken tikka masala and the lamb vindaloo, which we ordered spicy. we also got naan and roti, and raaita.

        i'd definitely try something less typical the next time around, but we tend to view that threesome as sort of a 'control group', if that makes any sense.. i thought the food was much better than kinara, and on par with some of the jackson heights indian i grew up with.

        1. re: sararose

          Thanks for your review. I also find that kinara is probably the best in that area. So I'm looking forward to trying aarpan soon.

          1. re: Miss Needle

            Unless I hit it on a wrong chef day earlier this week, I think Kinara's gone way downhill. My formerly favorite Baighan Bharta had all the wrong flavors, seemingly consisting mostly of near-burnt tomato sauce.

            1. re: Peter Cuce

              We felt the same with different dishes 2 weeks ago.

    2. Went to Aarpan last night. We actually ate in the restaurant, rather than doing take out. On the whole we really liked it, but the appetizer wasn't good... I feared we made a mistake in going there.

      Papadum are served for the table. They were very good. I'm not sure if they make them in house, but they were very freshly cooked.

      The Bhelpuri--here's where the meal almost went wrong. It had an unpleasant, stale flavor. As if the puffed rice had been sitting in the bag for weeks. Or months. It was disappointing.

      I asked the waiter's recommendation on a few things. Between the two eggplant dishes he recommended the Baignan Bharta, which we enjoyed. Also, I asked for a rec on a chicken dish... something other than Chicken Tikka Masala. He said we should try the Chennai Chicken Curry, which was really excellent. We also got naan, which was good and very fresh.

      I know it wasn't the most adventurous order. But aside from the Bhelpuri, we both really enjoyed. We'll definitely go back. Or at least order delivery.

      2 Replies
      1. re: egit

        can you describe the chennai chicken curry? how "wet" was it?

        as for the papadum, im afraid the secret to restaurant papadum is deep frying (not that you went out for indian food because its healthy). they are actually super easy to make at home - and dirt cheap. you can buy stacks of uncooked ones at any indian grocer and microwave them into crispness (assuming you own a microwave, which we dont). i like to throw the popped ones over a gas burner for a second to get a little char on em before eating.

        1. re: tex.s.toast

          The Chennai Chicken Curry was fairly wet. There was a lot of sauce to put on the rice and mop up with the naan.

          I know the papadum are easily available. I used to live a block from Kalustyan's. I wasn't sure if some restaurants made their own, or if it's just a matter of my not having eaten IN an Indian restaurant for several years. (take out only). I think they were a little charred, which went a long way to amping up their flavor.

      2. Tried last night, excellent, spiced to order, chennai chicken, saag aloo, yellow dal, salmon tikka.
        IMHO the best in the neighborhood.

        1. If I hadn't read about Aarpan on Chowhound I might never have gone in, since it looks like it was put together using a mail-order Indian restaurant construction kit. And honestly, I didn't find it to be anything special, but I've only had one dish so far, a lamb dish called Rajasthani Lal Maas. It had no particular flavor that stood out, just a sort of slightly spicy vinegariness. Service was friendly and eager to please.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Peter Cuce

            Four of us went last night around 7:30pm. Probably about 1/2 full around 8pm but we were the last ones there at 9:30pm, when we left. It's the former Mezcal's space and not much has been done to it to make it homey... good enough though, I guess.

            We ordered a lot, figuring that it'll be hit or miss and one of us will have take home. Well, no real misses (nothing was bad or poorly done) but, in my opinion, no real hits either. Samosas not greasy and full but not better than those generally available elsewhere. Other apps. okay. The breads were decent as well, although not much garlic on the garlic naan ("which are the garlic and which are the plain" had to actually be asked). The raita was too thick and clearly sweetened too much. The tandoori mixed grill was fine and included a piece of salmon (a little dry, which shouldn't happen with good tandoori, in my opinion), a big cube of cheese (very nice and unusual, at least in my experience), some good lamb chunks and kebob pieces and decent chicken. The spinach/cheese dish was average (but that's good for Bklyn) and the chicken dishes (tikka masala and vindaloo... our benchmarks) were ok, nothing more (or less). The lamb dish was above average but I can't remember what it was called.

            All in all, probably the best Indian restaurant food I've had in Brooklyn (if you don't count the steam table options on Coney Is. Ave or McDonald Ave) and nice to have them around as needed. But, since we have a car and Curry Hill isn't much further from Bklyn Heights when driving, I think we'll stick to Dhaba for a much better meal, with much better variety. Now, if this place will deliver to the Heights (forgot to ask them)....

          2. I know this thread is old, but this place was great. We had an appetizer of fried okra, Tandoori Shrimp (which came with a generous side of Yello Dal), Aloo Gobi and Pistachio Chicken. The spice level was really great (in that it was not dumbed down for us gringos). This is probably the best restaurant Indian I have had in a long time (although I can say that I do not live anywhere near any decent places being located in Westchester County).

            I tried all the items and there was nothing bad.