In spite of its generic name and imprecise storefront signage, which advertises a sprawling menu that jumps from "Chinese food" to biryani to bagels, Starling Coffee Shop manages to keep a tight focus on the streets of Bangladesh. Stick to the menu's left side and you can cover a wide range of filling Bengali streets snacks.
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Starling Avenue, a microcosm of Bangladeshi life in the Bronx, continues to cement its position as the premier cultural and commercial center for the borough's Desi community. In the 1990s, only a handful of families from the South Asian nation called the neighborhood home; today there are nearly 2,000. It was only a few years ago that the street was anointed with the honorific title of Banglabazaar, given in recognition of the dense concentration of Bangladeshi businesses that line it, and eating there has never been better.
The closure of La Orquidea—a destination for those seeking a taste of Honduras—left the Bronx without a destination pupasería. But there is another papusa worth the trip, this time farther uptown, by way of Soundview's Pupasería Salvadoreño.
At Neerob (reviewed in whole here), fish takes center stage. But not to the neglect of vegetables, which often appear in simpler guises. One of the best is their okra with green papaya ($3), a great gateway dish for those who have been turned off by the vegetable's notorious sliminess.
On the front of the takeout menu, a quote translates, more or less, to "There are only two places where you can eat with pleasure: at Tlaxcalli and at your house." We can't agree. The food here is much, much better than the food at our house. Taqueria Tlaxcalli is best for: a date with a side of authenticity.
Doing things right at Neerob, a Bangladeshi eatery in Parkchester, requires committing to a method of eating usually discouraged at American dinner tables. Skip the plastic utensils the staff obligingly provide and, instead, stick to your hands. In place of a fork or spoon, scoop up chunks of the dishes and spread them over patches of steaming white rice, making sure not to mix the dishes. Then eat. (Just remember to stick to your right hand.)