When you're dining meat-free, Indian restaurants are usually a good bet; even those not devoted to southern Indian cuisine have plenty of vegetarian options to offer. Om on the Upper East Side is a neighborhood standout for just that kind of eating.
'Indian' on Serious Eats
Though the food at Taste of Kerala Kitchen is mostly true to traditional form, some of it is better than others. Here's what should you order on your first visit.
If you've been following our series on Smorgasburg pop-ups, you may be familiar with Bombay Sandwich Co., the stall dedicated to all-vegetarian Mumbai-inspired lunch and snack food with a healthy-ish edge. Earlier this month the owners of the company opened a permanent space in Chelsea devoted to sandwiches, salads, smoothies, and other lunch fare.
Pakistan Tea House is a special place: not only is its above-average food an incredible bargain, but it's also a welcoming spot that's open from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m., seven days a week. In the morning and early afternoon, the restaurant fills with office workers; in the middle of the night, it's home to cab drivers pulling a late shift and night owls with the munchies.
The food at Kokum represents a "culinary tour through the southern coast of India," inspired, among others, by the cuisines of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and—especially rare in New York—seafood-heavy Kerala. New York's Indian cuisine still skews towards the rich (heavy in unskilled hands) cooking of the country's northern regions, which makes the purely southern Kokum one of Manhattan's most distinctive Indian restaurants. A meal there is a journey well worth taking, even if the food doesn't always succeed.
As last week's foray into the south Asian food available in New York made clear, there are excellent options in town for authentic regional cooking from the subcontinent. So what more could a New Yorker ask for? There's still plenty of eating we could do.
South Asian food in New York City is finally moving beyond tikka masala territory, and this week-long series will help you make the most of these heady times. Not sure of the difference between dosa and roti or how to distinguish good chaat from the rest? We've got you covered. The fiery conclusion to our series: Chettinad and Andhra Pradesh, South India's "spice belt."
South Asian food in New York City is finally moving beyond tikka masala territory, and this week-long series will help you make the most of these heady times. Not sure of the difference between dosa and roti or how to distinguish good chaat from the rest? We've got you covered. Up today: Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Sri Lanka in south Asia's deep south.
South Asian food in New York City is finally moving beyond tikka masala territory, and this week-long series will help you make the most of these heady times. Not sure of the difference between dosa and roti or how to distinguish good chaat from the rest? We've got you covered. Up today: Maharashtra, Mumbai, and Gujarat on India's western coast.
When we last saw chef Peter Beck, he was developing the menu at Benares near Times Square, where the casual restaurant hit upscale notes with a mixed seafood stew and some refined takes on chaat. He's now at Pippali, a Murray Hill Indian spot that runs in a similar vein. That includes a particularly fancy version of a Maharashtran street snack, a sandwich best shared as a starter.
South Asian food in New York City is finally moving beyond tikka masala territory, and this mini-series will help you make the most of these heady times. Not sure of the difference between dosa and roti or how to distinguish good chaat from the rest? We've got you covered in this week-long series on the regional cooking of south Asia that you can find in New York's restaurants. Up today: West Bengal and neighboring Bangladesh.
New York's south Asian restaurants have long lingered in tikka masala territory, serving up watered-down versions of recognizable North Indian dishes. Aside from a few excellent exceptions to this rule, cream-laden sauces and muted spices have defined Desi cooking here—until now. Is food from the subcontinent finally coming into its own in our fair city? We think it has.
The kati rolls at Desi Galli have earned the tiny Murray Hill lunch spot a loyal following, not least because of the chewy flatbreads that wrap them up. But don't stop there if you're in search of a good sandwich: these little sliders are another solid choice and better sized for snacking, boasting the same flavorful fillings inside a downy new bun.
Dosa Garden on Staten Island makes a big deal of their Chettinad-trained chefs. When it comes to the curry, you should listen.
A good chaat house can be hard to find. A great one—that gets you excited about every saucy, fried carb-y bite—is worth the drive out to the edge of Queens.
Not to be confused with Usha Foods and Usha Sweets, Real Usha Sweets and Snacks (emphasis added) in Floral Park makes some of the better Indian sweets you can find in New York. Like most Indian desserts they're exquisitely sweet. But high turnover of fresh batches and better ingredients make them stand out from the stale, bland desserts you'll find elsewhere.
When out-of-towners ask me where to see "real New York," or when I'm looking to feed eight people for $40, or when I've decided that my cholesterol is just too damn low and in need of some butter, I have one easy answer for where to go: an out-of-the-way temple in suburban Flushing that just happens to make the best dosas in New York.
Visiting Jersey City's Newark Avenue is a treat; the steeply-pitched street is lined with dozens of restaurants and a handful Hindu temples, and strands of multicolored lights hanging from the street lamps and power lines lend the area a festive air. The atmosphere alone is worth a trip; the excellent food at Sapthagiri is just one more reason to go.
Regional Indian specialties set this restaurant apart from the rest of Curry Hill.