Junoon, Chef Vikas Khanna's extravagant Indian fine dining establishment, has repurposed its front lounge into its own entity called Patiala, serving exotic spiced cocktails and an abbreviated menu from the restaurant. Like Junoon, the opulent furnishings and soft lighting lend to Patiala's genteel atmosphere, where the only music is the murmur of hushed voices and the clink of dishware.
The lounge menu is delicate to the point of skimpy, though the flavors speak volumes. The delicious scent of Garlic Naan ($7) precedes the irresistible starter, warm and chewy on its own, or ready to dip into the chutneys and sauces of any other dish that comes to the table.
One of those dishes should be the Piri-Piri Shrimp ($14), smothered in a smoky Goan chili sauce perfect for sopping up with the naan. The kitchen cooks the shrimp to a perfect consistency, plump and just barely opaque. The accompanying avocado and jicama salad tempers the slight spiciness of the chili sauce.
Kakori Kebabs ($14), though not the most photogenic of dishes, were surprisingly tender. Defying the old chefs adage of "you eat with your eyes first," these minced lamb kebabs packed the punchy flavors of smoked clove, pippali pepper, dried rose petals and green cardamom, accompanied by cilantro-mint chutney and seasoned red onions.
Heartier entrees, though available on the lounge menu, mirror the same sort of dishes that you would find in the next room at Junoon at similar prices. Given that case, we recommend tucking into dishes like Dahi Wale Lamb Chops ($36) and Monkfish Tikka ($28) at a proper dining room table, not the casual lounge tables of Patiala.
Patiala @ Junoon
About the author: Nancy Huang, who comes to New York by way of Los Angeles, writes The Wanderist, a food and travel blog of adventures here and abroad. She loves noodles, subway maps, and word games.