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Indian restaurant in New York City


Suvir Saran
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Chaats are not Southern Indian

Oh. I thought Chaat was the Hindi word for snack food and appetizer like things. Its specific to a region?

Jason, therein lies your answer.

Yes Chaat is a hindi word. Hindi is spoken mostly in Northern India.

I am sure many in the Southern part of India know it.. it has been a sore spot in Indian politics (Hindi being the national language of India that is).

Chaat is usually not easily found in Southern India. I am sure just as Southern foods have found a hungry audience in the North, maybe many Southerners are also fond of chaats... But no, Chaat is not Southern Indian.

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Suvir, we've actually met at Cafe Spice and shared our thoughts about the future. I have much more to add to the post and our conversation.

Mr. Malothra is forward thinking. There are some aspects I wish he did differently that would attract an even larger market.  I think my concept will take that next step. The goal is to introduce more people to the cuisine. I don't think high end restaurants are in a position to do that. To reach the larger audience you have to feed the masses not the classes.

I think the casual approach is what Indian cuisine needs to expand. Casual concepts are easier to toy with in terms of design, and you can always tweak the design to make the concept feel like a neighborhood restaurant in any city. People will relate with the food, if prepared properly and if they feel comfortable in their surroundings. Isn't that a key to any successful restaurant? A little test I use in proving the point: Ask an average Joe what his favorite restaurant is and why. I guarantee you they mention something about the atmosphere before they say something about food.

There are very few high end concepts, Indian or not, that have successfully taken the same concept to other cities. Why? Because you really have to know what those high-end diners want, and it's not always the same across cities.

What do you think?

I think again, I find myself in agreement with you. :smile:

And now I need to demystify RKS.

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Chaats are not Southern Indian

Oh. I thought Chaat was the Hindi word for snack food and appetizer like things. Its specific to a region?

You are right about the word and what it means. Chaat is also eaten in hawker-style stalls from North through Western India - But in South India, the appetisers are not chaat - Hawker type apps are popular in Hyderabad - with Mughlai kebabs and seekhs, and banana fritter savories in Trivandrum.

Banana fritters... yummmmm.... :rolleyes:

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Well, just like OTTO, we can make the menu have two sides, a northern india and a southern india side of the menu. Just like they have "traditional" and "non traditional" pizzas. Sure, we can justify anything. And if they don't like it, they can have a 20 page thread on eGullet.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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........ And if they don't like it, they can have a 20 page thread on eGullet.

You crack me up - ROTFLMAO :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin: Maybe I'll ask Chez Suzzette to make some curried snails for the Food-Festival :smile:

anil

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Chaats are not Southern Indian

Oh. I thought Chaat was the Hindi word for snack food and appetizer like things. Its specific to a region?

You are right about the word and what it means. Chaat is also eaten in hawker-style stalls from North through Western India - But in South India, the appetisers are not chaat - Hawker type apps are popular in Hyderabad - with Mughlai kebabs and seekhs, and banana fritter savories in Trivandrum.

Yes, Yes, Yes

We should have hawker-style stalls on wheels moving around the dining area. No menu... Like Mortons, except you prepare everything in front. Well in South you do hace chat Bhandar, like pani poori is called "Gupp Chup" (Gupp essentially you are opening your mouth and Chup you are shutting your mouth with the mini pani poori inside your mouth).

On these carts you can make Dosa's, Pesarattu, Mysore Bondas and an Indian Chinese Hakka noodles and chilly and Ginger chicken with some egg fried rice. Small sized Lamb kababs to seekh kababs on mobile charcoal grills, I can go on and on .......... endless.

Yes, Anil, Rks, Jason.. we can be in business.

P2

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On these carts you can make Dosa's, Pesarattu, Mysore Bondas and an Indian Chinese Hakka noodles and chilly and Ginger chicken with some egg fried rice. Small sized Lamb kababs to seekh kababs on mobile charcoal grills, I can go on and on .......... endless.

Please go on... I am hungry again...

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I love your suggestion about treating Indian food in similar ways to how the Chinese treated their own regional cuisines in the US. I would say it could be one of those pointers from this thread that could be a new tend in the offing.

It may take decades to represent all the many regional variations one finds in India, but I guess it could be a fun challenge and a worthy one.

I agree on both counts. Why, we've just scratched the surface with Chinese regional cuisines. Where can you find Yunnan-style food, for example? Kansu cuisine, anyone?

Pan, I worry about losing real food in a fine dining setting, but I also firmly believe that one can give REAL food and in REAL and SINCERE settings if you can invest in creating an ambience that really pulls together all that can make a dining experience stellar. And to do that, one has to invest a lot, time, monies and gray cells. I would be happy paying any amount if I can be promised great food in a great setting. Certainly I would not go to that restaurant very regularly, but I would go there for all special events I must celebrate in style and lavishly. And certainly I would never want to hurt those many restaurants that sate my hunger for tasty food at affordable prices and without my having to make great effort or fuss about showing up there.

Well, my experience with pricey Chinese restaurants in New York to date gives me pause. Shun Lee West went from decent but overpriced to mediocre for a cheap Chinese restaurant (in terms of food), Shun Lee Palace was bad the last time I went (and will ever go, presumably), and even Canton, in Chinatown, deteriorated and is now closed. I can't comment on Vongerichten's new Chinese (or Chinese-ish?) restaurant, but so far, it's my impression that if you want good upscale Chinese, you're best off going to Flushing, where the clientele is mostly Chinese. Yes, I know: The ethnicity of the clientele doesn't guarantee anything. But it can help. It's been years, but I used to go to a Cantonese banquet place off the LIE called Golden Pond or Silver Pond or something like that. We were paying well over $20/person there (sometimes $30/person or more, especially if we got lobster) back in the late 80s and early 90s. The food was truly great there, and we were among the few non-Chinese there.

I'm aware that there have been and are upscale Indian restaurants, but I haven't been to them. I do know that there are wealthy Indian-Americans, and if restaurants cater to their taste, I would probably like them! That's the key: Appeal to a core Indian clientele and also a non-Indian one. That core clientele - because it's more knowledgeable - stands a much better chance of preventing the cuisine from deteriorating to the lowest common denominator.

I think time is ripe for Indian food in the US to have every kind of restaurant available to its lovers. We should have Indian restaurants that fit into every category of the reviewing scale. Is that wrong to hope for?

It's certainly not wrong to hope for. I would point out that, at least in my view, upscale Chinese restaurants have done very little to promote authentic - let alone unusual regional - Chinese cuisine to the public - not least because "the public" doesn't eat in such expensive restaurants! Instead, it was places like Empire Szechuan and Hunan Balcony that moved the public past just a steady diet of American-Chinese and Cantonese foods like Chop Suey, Chow Mein, Egg Rolls, Sweet and Sour Pork, Egg Foo Young, and so forth.

Your hope has to be to attract that wealthy clientele of Indian-American and expatriate Indian professionals and businesspeople, in my opinion.

I'll bring up another cuisine: Korean. There are many rich Koreans, but how "mainstream" are upscale Korean restaurants?

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I'll bring up another cuisine: Korean. There are many rich Koreans, but how "mainstream" are upscale Korean restaurants?

Di Nada :smile: The wealthy Indian-Americans arguement is a difficult one, that I have not been able to successfully deconstruct. The same reason that I do not take follow the cabbies as a mantra for finding good authentic indian fare.

I shall some day, put down some of my concerns on the above - not this early morning :raz:

Edited by anil (log)

anil

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I'd like to see a South Indian version of OTTO in concept. Some place where you can get all kinds of interesting chaats and dosas and stuff. And follow it up with gourmet indian style ice creams.

Will be checking out OTTO keeping South Indian in mind. Great idea.

Jason

Plannig on visiting OTTO tonight keeping South Indian version of OTTO. Am sure this will only work in NYC. I am a suburb person, do have an eye to get into city one day.. hopefully soon.

Does one require a reservation for two at OTTO.

While I am there would also like to get couple other places as well.

One is to Jean George's 66 and the other one is to Taj Lounge.

This is my plan: First to OTTO for drinks and apps and light entrees. Second to 66 for some more apps. Third to Taj Lounge for after dinner dessert and drink.

Can somebody gimme phone numbers and addresses for these places please

Thank you

Prasad2

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P2-

Otto has a no reservation policy. They are very accomodating in their bar area. 212.995.9559

66- I recommend a reservation 212.925.0202 (241 Church St.)

Taj Lounge- 48 W 21st (b/t 5th and 6th) 212.620.3033. They have a lot of private functions. I would check before I head over there.

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Otto

212-995-9559

No reservations taken or necessary. Get to Otto early, and you shall be fine.

I have this number on my cell.

Otto is on 8th Street and 5th Avenue. Correct me if I am wrong. Actually it is on 8th between Fifth and University Place. Closer to 5th. Actually off of Fifth with entrance on the street.

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P2-

Otto has a no reservation policy. They are very accomodating in their bar area.  212.995.9559

66- I recommend a reservation 212.925.0202 (241 Church St.)

Taj Lounge- 48 W 21st (b/t 5th and 6th) 212.620.3033. They have a lot of private functions. I would check before I head over there.

Rks

Thank you so much. I really appreciate for all the info.

First will be at OTTo and then the others.

You are right about Taj, last tiem I was supposed to be there with some press, and the Chef asked the publiscist to keep the press out on that particular night due to a private party.

P2

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In this months Masala Magazine, a UK magazine covering the Indian restaurant scene in the UK, the editors conducted a study on the potential successes for British restauranteurs interested in expanding their Indian restaurant empires in the US.

Titled "America: The Indian Restaurant Scene in the USA 2002", the article delineates the huge disparity between the number of Indian restaurants in the UK and the US per capita. They indicate some of the best markets to enter, NY, Las Vegas, and Orlando. All of their conclusions are based on demographic and competitve analyses of the most populated and the biggest tourist states in the US.

They also extrapolate that in NY, the most innovative scene in the US, Indian restaurants are fifteen years behind their UK counterparts in terms of menu development and innovation. (A very bold statement on their part. I'm curious how they figured fifteen years.)

The article contains a lot of detailed numbers to support: the # of Indian restaurants in the US by state; # of restaurants per capita in US and UK; # of visitors to US by state, etc. I'm happy to pass them along to anyone interested. Prior to reading this article, I did my own study and came up with suprisingly close figures.

Sorry, the post is a bit academic, but I thought the article cements some of the thoughts previously posted in the thread.

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Suvir- there is a website; however, it doesn't offer a glimpse into print issues of the magazine: Masala Magazine The magazine is on average 50 pages per issue with a lot of advertisments.

The article doesn't mention an author so I assume the editors Peter Grove or Colleen Grove wrote it.

I'd prefer to PM you the 2 page article since it will take me some time to post the numbers. I think it's the best way to do it. I'm happy to send the article to whomever is interested.

Some of the interesting numbers:

US figures

-approx 1000 Indian restaurants. (From my study I think 1100 is a more accurate number.)

-Indian restaurants per capital in NY 1 restaurant for every 105,618 persons; in CA 1 for every 265,393

-approx 170 restaurant in NY

UK figures

-approx 8700 Indian restaurants

-approx 1200 in London alone

-Indian restaurants per capita in London 1 restaurant for every 5,976 persons; in UK total 6,757 to 1

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