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Amma


prasad2
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Amma is absolutley awesome! I took my out of town friend to Amma tonight, and we simply had the most wonderful dining experience. The spinach chaat tasted as good as it looked in the picture, the halibut was inspiring in every sense of the word, and the shrimp was done to perfection, as with the cauliiflower. Of course, the kulfi with mango sauce provided the most beautiful finish to the meal.

Best of all is the warm friendly staff, and the great service. I couldn't thank Suvir and his staff enough, because for a jaded eater like myself, I left Amma tonight blissfully content and definitely inspired.

Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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Amma is absolutley awesome! I took my out of town friend to Amma tonight, and we simply had the most wonderful dining experience. The spinach chaat tasted as good as it looked in the picture, the halibut was inspiring in every sense of the word, and the shrimp was done to perfection, as with the cauliiflower. Of course, the kulfi with mango sauce provided the most beautiful finish to the meal.

Best of all is the warm friendly staff, and the great service. I couldn't thank Suvir and his staff enough, because for a jaded eater like myself, I left Amma tonight blissfully content and definitely inspired.

You are very kind... thanks for the compliments... I am glad your friend and you had a good time.. It was a long morning, day, evening and night at Amma. Well, the last few weeks have been so.... small in size, Amma is all but small in challenges it poses. We have been aching (the team at Amma) for each service (lunch and dinner), we are unable to seat all that come to our door. It is sad, for we make some unhappy, even as we do make an effort to make others, seating and experiencing our foods, as comfortable as possible. It kills us... and it is the only thing all of us at Amma want to correct, but alas, we have no more room.

As I promised you, I will be glad to share the recipe for the Okra whenever you want to prepare it. Give me some notice, and make a call to me.. and I shall share the recipe over the phone. It is easy and takes minutes to prepare.

You thanked us plenty in sharing your enthusiasm about the foods as they came to your table and you tasted them. We need nothing more.

I am sorry I did not discover your real identity till the very end... well, in some ways, my not knowing who you were, made it even better. Since Hemant and I were not worrying over your meal... We try not to do that... but who knows.. if the subconscious plays a role....

It was not until your last course that I heard you mention eGullet, and then I realized who you were. We had dining with us, another customer, with your name, but only one letter being different. I had assumed the other lady was you... and was being charmed by her and her partner as they enjoyed their meal and asked Hemant and I a million questions about their tasting menu.

I hope the green chiles were hot enough... and that you did not miss too much heat.

Come back... our menu will change seasonally... and it would be fun to share some other vegetable preparations with you. I loved the expression on your face as I told you about the Jackfruit. You have the most wonderfully expressive eyes and a marvellous face that cannot hide what you are feeling. Your expression when I mentioned Durian and Jackfruit being similar was priceless. :smile:

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My wife Sue and I (and our uncle Sy) had a memorable dining experience at Amma last night. I use the term dining experience because describing the food alone doesn't convey the warmth and graciousness of Bikky, Suvir and the rest of the staff. One can instantly tell that this is a labor of love as much as it is a business venture. The principals share their considerable talents with their guests with the same enthusiasm and pride as a painter showing his works to friends visiting his studio.

I can't add much more to the superlatives that fellow eGulletiers have used to describe the Spinach Chaat – fried spinach leaves topped with an Indian-style succotash (sprouted mung beans, corn, etc.); the heavenly Parsi Halibut with mint coconut chutney; the Tandoor Grilled Lamb Chops with sweet and sour pear chutney; or any of the other fabulous dishes that we sampled. However, I can offer how Amma fared using our food rating, er, methodology. If Zagat rates restaurants using a numeric scale (1 - 30) and Grimes uses stars, our ratings have a more experiential and even sexual spin. Well, if music is the food of love, then wonderful food is the music of our survival. In any case, our units of measurement for rating food are... FOOD ORGASMS. It happens when we taste something so absolutely unique and delicious that our jaws drop and we moan, "Oh my God". Although there are many fine restaurants in the city that put contented smiles on our faces, reaching a full-blown food orgasm is anything but commonplace.

Amma's rating would then be Simultaneous multiple food orgasms -- too many to count. :wub:

Mikeyrad, it was a treat to have your wife, uncle and you grace us with your presence at Amma Wednesday night. Nothing could have been more welcome on a day when my personal life was being challenged with personal issues of dire consequence.

Uncle Sy was charming and everything I hope our world could have in all elders. A man of great knowledge and a man who was wise as only uncles and certain elders can be. Thanks for bringing him to Amma with you.... and I am glad your first experience at Amma was a positive one.

Thanks for your very kind words.... not sure we deserve such praise, but I shall accept greedily and with humility, promising that Anju, Hemant, Bikky, our staff at Amma and I shall do all we can to only make our small restaurant learn from each day that we have it open.... When and if you come next, it will be my hope that we can give you even greater and more memorable an experience.

Thanks for coming to Amma in the first place, and thanks for taking out time to post about your meal. :smile:

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Pumpkin lover, we had a current Columbia University Undergrad student and also some very well known past students dining at Amma last night.  It was as if almost each group of people had someone who had studied at Columbia, or was still involved with it.

I am sure your piece had a great deal to do with that occurence. :smile:

Thanks for that great piece you wrote.  Hemant and I spoke about it again last night, and Anju, the owner, was sharing our enthusiasm about your writing and your experience.  It was impressive that you were able to uncover the most minute nuances of what we had spent a couple of months putting together.

Re: the CU student--

That's amazing!! If well-known graduates were eating there, then perhaps it wasn't my piece that led them there (well-known graduates of Columbia, I hope, can fend for themselves :cool: ), but I'll believe it if the currently enrolled student suggested it to them. I'm still a young-enough writer to be wowed when someone listens to my writing. :laugh:

And, Suvir, you're completely welcome about the piece. I'm so glad you and everyone else appreciated it (and I'm also honored that it's being mentioned around your staff!).

It should be noted, though, that from beginning to end, the meal deserved nothing but praise. All the reviews I've read, especially that Grimes one, have been (almost) spot on. It was just a night of fantastic food, simple as that.

Personally, the best compliments that I got about the piece were from my twin sister (also a CU student)--she's definitely interested in trying out Amma. We may be back before X-mas. :smile:

That picture of the spinach chaat is perfect! - Jayanthi

Jayanthi,

My mother in India was mighty impressed by your writing. I proudly and shamelessly sent your piece to her and some other family and friends of Hemant and I in India.

Anju mentioned to me how the review you wrote was spot on in synch with everything we have ever wanted to have understood about our food.

It was as if you read our minds, and were able to understand exactly what we all were hoping to formulate and give shape to in culinary form.

Your piece will live with us for a very long time. It has moved us not for the kind things you say about us... but because you revealed the things, those smallest of garnishes, that we chose with great care, but never realized most would find time to enjoy and savor at such a deep level.

We look forward to your return visit to Amma with your twin sister. Do give us some notice, and make a reservation if you can.... being very small, it would ensure we do not have to make you wait....

We have Tana to thank for the picture of the Spinach Chaat... She has caught the colors of the restaurant in her image. It is wonderful.

Again, my most sincere thanks to you and also my congratulations to you for having written a very wonderful and meaningful review in the eyes of a restaurant owner. :smile:

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I may have to plan a special trip to New York soon just so I can try Amma :smile:.

Seriously, though, we may be in New York sometime between Christmas and New Year's weekend and we have a definite trip planned in early April, when our daughter's high school orchestra will be performing in the national Band Festival at Carnegie Hall. After that, there's the Barnard reunion weekend in June (another CU connection there). So, I shouldn't have to wait too long to enjoy Amma.

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I may have to plan a special trip to New York soon just so I can try Amma :smile:.

Seriously, though, we may be in New York sometime between Christmas and New Year's weekend and we have a definite trip planned in early April, when our daughter's high school orchestra will be performing in the national Band Festival at Carnegie Hall.  After that, there's the Barnard reunion weekend in June (another CU connection there). So, I shouldn't have to wait too long to enjoy Amma.

Bushey, please let us know at the restaurant at your earliest if you are coming in December.

Amma is a small restaurant, it takes very little of a crowd to fill it up.

To give good service, we suggest people reserve in advance.. We also do our best to keep tables open for walk-ins. But there is not much room for either.

It would be nice to see you at the restaurant. You can call the restaurant to make the reservation whenever you are ready, or so desire, at 212-644-8330.

Edited by Suvir Saran (log)
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"If music be the food of love, play on."

Twelfth Night - William Shakespeare

I almost chose that line as my sig. :biggrin:

What kind of music, if any, is played on the sound system at Amma?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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"If music be the food of love, play on."

Twelfth Night - William Shakespeare

I almost chose that line as my sig. :biggrin:

What kind of music, if any, is played on the sound system at Amma?

As far as I remember, it was Jazz-house, Downbeat, Buddah Bar like material. But, my senses were definitely more focused on the dining experience.

Another fave Shakespeare passage with a musical theme:

How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!

Here will we sit and let the sounds of music

Creep in our ears; soft stillness and the night

Become the touches of sweet harmony.

Merchant of Venice - Act V, Scene 1

Vaughan Williams used this passage as the text for his Serenade to Music, one of the most beautiful pieces in the choral/orchestral repertoire.

Edited by mikeyrad (log)
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Congratulations on the overwhelmingly positive reception for Amma, Suvir.

How gratifying for you and Hemant.

And, of course, having experienced the food only at a remove we are anxious to actually taste and smell and savour the real thing.

We are planning on being in NY in late March. Please tell me how far ahead I should call in order to book a table for two.

Thanks,

Kathy

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Even if my asking the person who took my last-minute reservation this past Saturday evening if Suvir would be at the restaurant was the reason my wife and I were treated like family at Amma, I would bet the ranch that even if I had not invoked Suvir's name we would have been fawned and fussed over, at the latest, by our second visit

. I told myself that I would not let my past gatherings with Suvir and our messages back and forth cloud my judgment of Amma. I do not believe it did, nor in the case of my wife either, who doesn't let anything cloud her judgment.

Fundamentally, Amma is the proverbial breath of fresh air in the Indian cuisine dining scene in New York. We decided to order two dishes that were new to us--the spinach chaat and the Parsi halibut--and two that we could compare with other experiences--the behl poori and the tandoori lamb chops. We loved all of them, with the only small flaw being the temperature of the halibut, which could have been warmer. But I do not want to forget the best raita in a lifetime of ordering raita. The fried spinach leaves placed on top was a touch we had never encountered. It imparted a delicious crunch. It should be a side dish one should order every time out. Desserts were great as well; a rashmali and panna cotta, if memory serves me correctly.

I am a staunch beer drinker in Indian restaurants, but after allowing me to have an Indian beer that was new to me (Iron Horse), Bikky began championing the glories of wine with Indian food and shared with us his quest that takes him all over the world to find wines that compliment with Indian spices. He gave a marvelous Australian Shiraz that went well with my halibut and another Shiraz and a French Chardonnay. He was almost all ours, it seemed, for our entire visit. Rarely have we received such attention, let alone in a restaurant where people were waiting for a table. Anju, Amma's proprietor, told us that this was his first restaurant and how fortunate he was to have Suvir, Hemat and Bikky.

Hemat checked up on us a few times in his most warm and gracious way. We enjoyed his cuisine at Diwan, but here at Amma, it is clear he is enjoying the opportunity to branch out and be challenged by dishes that are not clichés.

We missed seeing Suvir who was just returning from a trip. But we will back very soon and look forward to seeing him. After all, Amma, as I told him, is our new culinary home away from home, which we left praising it highly. Amma is astonishingly well-run with service that is considerate, unaggressive and, during our meal, never missed a beat.

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Thank you for Amma and for your wonderful food and for your lovely hospitality. We had an amazing Sunday lunch there a couple of weeks ago and were pampered beyond belief even though Suvir and Hemet were not there. My husband left his business card and Suvir so graciously wrote him and made us feel how welcome we'd be if we returned. I have tremendous respect for what you are doing. Instead of trying to get trendy and do that fusion deal, you are raising the bar and really, I think, are on the cutting edge of creating Indian Haute Cuisine. Cudos, and I only regret I cannot eat there once a week. We rarely drink beer so we had a wonderful Zinfindel that paired beautifully with our food. Good choice of wine list for your food. Maybe this is the reason I need to move back to NYC.

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amma, hemant, suvir, and bikky are just incredible. as is the rest of the team. there's just nothing i can think of beyond that. mrs. tommy, after trying hemant's food for the first time, didn't stop talking about it for days straight. i'm jaded, i suppose, having eaten at Diwan dozens of times, and i only talked about it for about 2 days straight. it has proven to be one of the most interesting and wonderful dining experiences in NYC.

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We visited Amma a few weeks ago and had a wonderful meal - thank you Suvir for your hospitality! For my taste (which is not experienced with Indian food) the vegetarian selections were outstanding and rose above the meat selections . We had both the vegetarian and non-vegetarian tasting menus at the table. The bhel Puri and Crispy fried Spinich were both wonderful. The tamarind in both made them somewhat similar however. The highlights were the cauliflower, crispy okra and the Idly Upma - almost an Indian tofu - outstanding! Thank you again and we will be back on our next trip to NYC.

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We are planning on being in NY in late March. Please tell me how far ahead I should call in order to book a table for two.

Thanks,

Kathy

You can call us a week in advance and it should be just fine.

Thanks for your kind words. I hope the food will live up to be everything you read about it and then some.

By March, the menu should have dishes that are yet only in my mind and waiting to find form.:smile:

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A wonderful review of Amma appears in the newest issue of New York magazine.

A snippet from the review (it's the second on the page):

Wherever a talented chef goes, fine food is sure to follow. Witness Amma, which just a few months ago was a modest restaurant on East 51st Street, frequented mostly by the residents of that modest brownstone block. But since the arrival of chef Hemant Mathur, who made his New York reputation at Tamarind, the restaurant has been overrun with members of the city’s Indian-food cognoscenti.

There is also mention of Suvir:

Mathur is a tandoori specialist (try the stuffed chicken breasts, and the

tender, yogurt-infused lamb chops), but he and his co-chef, Suvir Saran,

also have a facility with vegetables.

It is a glowing review! Amma is going to be packed!

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:biggrin::biggrin: Congrats to Amma once again! :biggrin::biggrin:

In my relentless endorsement of this restaurant and its chefs, I continue to scour the web to find mention of Amma. I just found the New Yorker's review:

http://www.newyorker.com/goingson/tables/

Since my visit to NYC in October, I've been visiting various Indian restaurants in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area, but none have slaked my appetite for the level of Indian cooking that I was served at Amma. Suvir, once again - amazing! Please offer my warmest regards and congratulations to Hemant, Bicky and the rest of the fine team at Amma.

Matthew (feeling stuck) in Minnesota

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A wonderful review of Amma appears in the newest issue of New York magazine.

A snippet from the review (it's the second on the page):

Wherever a talented chef goes, fine food is sure to follow. Witness Amma, which just a few months ago was a modest restaurant on East 51st Street, frequented mostly by the residents of that modest brownstone block. But since the arrival of chef Hemant Mathur, who made his New York reputation at Tamarind, the restaurant has been overrun with members of the city’s Indian-food cognoscenti.

There is also mention of Suvir:

Mathur is a tandoori specialist (try the stuffed chicken breasts, and the

tender, yogurt-infused lamb chops), but he and his co-chef, Suvir Saran,

also have a facility with vegetables.

It is a glowing review! Amma is going to be packed!

Thanks for the link! Another great review!

Matthew in (a state of envy because he's not in New York; he's stuck in) Minnesota

:raz:

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Congratulations on the great reviews, Suvir. While I will not be able to make it to the city for a while (and may need a six month lead due to your sucess), I am sending several friends in Manhattan and Texas who will beat me to your front door. (You've got mail.)

Richard

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Suvir, congratulations. This is very good news.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Congratulations! Can't tell you how excited I get whenever I see Amma mentioned. I'll be back very soon if I can get a table!

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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