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Bukhara Grill - New York


Suvir Saran
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Here are the two locations on the east side where one can eat foods that are recreations of the recipes that would be found in Bukhara, New Delhi.

I recently ate at the 58th street location, and had the best Naan I have ever eaten in North America.  

217 E 49th St

New York, NY 10017

(Between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)

and

230 E. 58th Street

Between 2nd and 3rd Ave.

New York, NY 10022

Has anyone gone to these restaurants?  What did you think?

The management and some of the chefs had worked for years in Bukhara, New Delhi.  It is the restaurant that has defined the Indian food movement for the most part across many countries.  

While Bukhara serves mostly foods from Northern India and that too from the North West Frontier, it has gained immense popularity amongst Indians from many different regions.

Today, we have a much higher understanding of the very different Southern Indian style of cooking.  Bukhara for the most part, has not ventured into including it as they should.

Would love to see what you all think about this restaurant.  How the concept and food work with your sensibilities of Indian cooking.  If it excites your palates as it does many Indian ones.

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There was one line in Vivin's report that I found particularly telling: the chef was a partner in the restaurant.  Rarely does a chef have this power and security in any restaurant, let alone an Indian one.

In my limited experience I have seen talented Indian chefs and kitchen workers terribly mistreated and taken advantage of--underpaid, not paid, salary held in arrears in a modern form of indentured servitude, tax and benefits neither with-held nor reported, overworked by working a full day, followed by an hour or two nap on site and then having to put in a full night, all made possible by the ability of an owner to hold visa or sponsorship issues over the heads of the employees--and that says nothing of the way illegal rather than sponsored immigrants are treated.

From talking to many of these kitchen workers and waiters in New York, this seems not only to be par for the course but endemic across all price points.

All of this affects how kitchen teams function and has a negative impact on the product served.  Often, much more emphasis is spent on the front of the house at the expense of the back of the house--where one would think the highest quality ingredients, fragrant spices, delicate teas and proper staffing exists.

Again, in my limited experiences, I wonder if it is this lack of professionalism that holds Indian cooking back from truly being perceived as properly "haute?"  And perhaps Bukhara is following a different, more Western model, in recognizing the value inherent in making the chef a partner.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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I personally would not read so deeply into Vivins comment.  He may have been led to believe more than it really is.  They have tried pulling the same one with me.  If I were as innocent as when I first started getting involved in this business, I may have believed  their shpeel.  But now, I take it with a grain of salt.  Partnerships come with many forms.  Some in name.. some in spirit and some just for show.  And some a little of each of those.

Steve, you cannot be more accurate in observing that Indian restaurants will not be truly Haute until they get their entire act more democratic and consistent.  There are visible and demoralising standards of employment related issues that these restaurants must address.  But that is also the case for most ethnic restaurants.  With many illegal immigrants working in the trade, they are willing to be abused in some ways, and that gives these owners and managers a sense of belief that their unacceptable ways are acceptable.

Also your comment about a full day shift.. not just one meal service is accurate and common through many restaurants that serve Indian food.  The ones with 2 stars and celebrity chefs associated with them as also t he no-star holes in the walls.  The poor treatment of staff is endemic to all.

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  • 1 year later...
Steve Klc Posted on Feb 11 2002, 10:19 AM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There was one line in Vivin's report that I found particularly telling: the chef was a partner in the restaurant.  Rarely does a chef have this power and security in any restaurant, let alone an Indian one.

Numerous Indian restaurants now have chefs as partners. Either a chef and a front of the hose staff who are working for the same establishment pool their resourses and do a project or an investor picks up a good chef and offers him a partnership in a venture for his expertise and steady service.

In the DC area you have Mehak ( they have since gone their seperate ways with individual restaurants), then you have The Connaught Place. The most famous is Heritage India considered by some to be the best in the area, Sudhir Seth ( ex Bhukhara NYC, I believe) was the chef at the Bombay Club and partnered to be the Chef/owner at Heritage. The two Bombay Bistros and their new DC location Indique are again chef and Front of the house partnerships.

Bombay Curry Company

3110 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305. 703. 836-6363

Delhi Club

Arlington, Virginia

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  • 3 weeks later...
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