41 East 22nd St, New York NY 10010; map); 212-674-7400; tamarinde22.com
Service: First class: attentive and knowledgeable
Setting: A comfortable, modern room with great light
Compare to: Amma, Tabla
Cost: $24.07 for three courses
Three courses—one of three choices for the first, two of four options for the main, and one of two desserts.
It may sound a bit like a math puzzle
, but it is actually the "executive lunch" menu at Tamarind, the acclaimed Flatiron Indian restaurant.
For $24.07, you get a number of options at lunch; throw in a warm and inviting room and effusive, knowledgeable service and you are getting a lot for your buck—not just the above-mentioned dishes, but naan and rice, vegetable sides, amuses, and more.
To begin, there is a complimentary amuse bouche: a wonderfully knish-like aloo bonda. For the starter, there is a daily soup or the choice between two additional appetizers.
Tamarind Jhinga is a dish of prawns expertly pan-seared served with a spicy tomato sauce laced with tamarind and green chilies. But I recommend the Murgh Ke Parche: tender strips of chicken breast marinated in yogurt, redolent with cumin seed and cardamom.
Main courses come with naan bread, dal rice and a vegetable that changes daily (I enjoyed a cauliflower in a curry sauce) and two of four choices: A chicken in a peppery coconut sauce, seafood skewers marinated in olive oil and served with bell peppers, paneer in a rich tomato sauce spiked with chilies or lamb grilled in the tandori oven. They were all enjoyable but none more so than the lamb, which was tender, earthy and peppery. And the desserts will ensure you leave satisfied—a spongy bread pudding with cinnamon being the easy recommendation, although the passion fruit Kulfi was would have been harder to decide against, were it not frozen so solidly.
Tamarind offers a lot of choice for the money and manages to pack in a lot of different flavors across three courses The cooking and service are first-rate, and the room is particularly pleasant during the day by virtue of the skylights that allow daylight to flood in.
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