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jgould

Manhattan Indian Top Standards?

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using the following as the standard criteria:

for regional chinese: grand sichuan on 9th bet 50/51st

for thai: the original wondee siam on 9th bet 52/53rd & pam real on 49th nr 9th av

which 1-2 indian restaurants should be listed?

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I vote for Madras Cafe as one of them. Are you restricting this to Manhattan?


Michael aka "Pan

 

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I have yet to go to Devi, but it obviously doesn't fit into your criteria.

I think you'd have some arguments for Angon, which is Bangladeshi.

Keep in mind that Indian and Chinese cuisines are very different from region to region. I don't know if that's equally true in Thailand. I'm sure the Malay-majority southern provinces are pretty different from the Northeast, but it is a much smaller country than either India or China.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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I have yet to go to Devi, but it obviously doesn't fit into your criteria.

I think you'd have some arguments for Angon, which is Bangladeshi.

Keep in mind that Indian and Chinese cuisines are very different from region to region. I don't know if that's equally true in Thailand. I'm sure the Malay-majority southern provinces are pretty different from the Northeast, but it is a much smaller country than either India or China.

definitely agree re: many different regions in both India & China. but for this, i am simply looking for a comparable Indian restaurant along the GENERAL lines of a GSI for Chinese, Pam Real/Wondee Siam for Thai. all 3 have received very favorable reviews here, so i'm curious if there is an Indian restaurant that is spicy, flavorful, & generally considered excellent. not sure if Devi fits, have never been there, but if Devi is to Indian, as GSI is to sichuan chinese & wondee is to thai; then devi certainly fits.

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Devi is upscale. For Thai, so is Kittichai, which I also haven't been to. The other places we're talking about are inexpensive.

You also might consider Klong for Thai. I don't love it, but then I don't love any Thai restaurant I've been to in Manhattan.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Devi is upscale.

agreed, devi is fairly upscale but sounds delicious. others, but not inclusive or exclusive: amma, sapphire(?), dawat, diwan???????????

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using the following as the standard criteria:

for regional chinese: grand sichuan on 9th bet 50/51st

for thai: the original wondee siam on 9th bet 52/53rd & pam real on 49th nr 9th av

which 1-2 indian restaurants should be listed?

of course, sripraphai is the real standard for thai -- but maybe you're talking manhattan.

and angon is certainly a contender.


"If it's me and your granny on bongos, then it's a Fall gig'' -- Mark E. Smith

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using the following as the standard criteria:

for regional chinese: grand sichuan on 9th bet 50/51st

for thai: the original wondee siam on 9th bet 52/53rd & pam real on 49th nr 9th av

which 1-2 indian restaurants should be listed?

of course, sripraphai is the real standard for thai -- but maybe you're talking manhattan.

and angon is certainly a contender.

thx, BUT using Grand Sichuan for Szechuan @ their 9th/51st location; the original Wondee Siam & Pam Real for Thai; now concentrating on comparable INDIAN restaurant(s) in Manhattan

however, do appreciate your comments :biggrin:


Edited by jgould (log)

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Chennai Garden for south Indian vegetarian.

Two vegetarian places frequented by Indians, serving sweet-sour chaat, and other special items from Gujarat:

Sukhadia 17 West 45th St. (between 5th and 6th Avenues)

212-395-7300 http://www.sukhadia.com/index.asp

Dimple on 30th (between 5th&Bwy)

Babu for some foods in the Calcutta style: try bengali puris called luchi, braised chevon called kasha mangsho; spiced potatoes called aloor dum.

A fellow bengali whose judgment i am inclined to trust writes {in another forum, http://www.anothersubcontinent.com/forums/...t=0entry12909 }

"The food...excellent. aloor dom...somewhat sweet in the Bengali style... absolutely delicious. the kosha mangsho ...a divine eating experience... Slightly oily, not too hot, luminously spiced.

...entirely satisfied with the luchi accompaniment to both dishes...the tomato chutney was better than my Mom's"...


Edited by v. gautam (log)

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Chennai Garden for south Indian vegetarian.

Two vegetarian places frequented by Indians, serving sweet-sour chaat, and other special items from Gujarat:

Sukhadia 17 West 45th St. (between 5th and 6th Avenues)

212-395-7300    http://www.sukhadia.com/index.asp

Dimple  on 30th (between 5th&Bwy)

Babu     for some foods in the Calcutta style: try bengali puris called luchi, braised chevon called kasha mangsho; spiced potatoes called aloor dum.

A fellow bengali whose judgment i am inclined to trust writes {in another forum, http://www.anothersubcontinent.com/forums/...t=0entry12909 }

"The food...excellent. aloor dom...somewhat sweet in the Bengali style... absolutely delicious.  the kosha mangsho ...a divine eating experience... Slightly oily, not too hot, luminously spiced.

...entirely satisfied with the luchi accompaniment to both dishes...the tomato chutney was better than my Mom's"...

Thanks, v gautam! I've tried Chennai Garden for the lunch buffet, and thought it was only OK. But I know I can't judge based on the lunch buffet. If I go back, should I order from the regular menu? Any recommended dishes?

I'd also add Angon to the list (320 East Sixth, between 1st and 2nd Avenues), though the chef is Bengladeshi. Actually, she doesn't call her food Indian or Bengladeshi; she likes to think of it only as her food.


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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Chennai Garden for south Indian vegetarian.

Two vegetarian places frequented by Indians, serving sweet-sour chaat, and other special items from Gujarat:

Sukhadia 17 West 45th St. (between 5th and 6th Avenues)

212-395-7300    http://www.sukhadia.com/index.asp

Dimple  on 30th (between 5th&Bwy)

Babu     for some foods in the Calcutta style: try bengali puris called luchi, braised chevon called kasha mangsho; spiced potatoes called aloor dum.

A fellow bengali whose judgment i am inclined to trust writes {in another forum, http://www.anothersubcontinent.com/forums/...t=0entry12909 }

"The food...excellent. aloor dom...somewhat sweet in the Bengali style... absolutely delicious.  the kosha mangsho ...a divine eating experience... Slightly oily, not too hot, luminously spiced.

...entirely satisfied with the luchi accompaniment to both dishes...the tomato chutney was better than my Mom's"...

Thanks, v gautam! I've tried Chennai Garden for the lunch buffet, and thought it was only OK. But I know I can't judge based on the lunch buffet. If I go back, should I order from the regular menu? Any recommended dishes?

I'd also add Angon to the list (320 East Sixth, between 1st and 2nd Avenues), though the chef is Bengladeshi. Actually, she doesn't call her food Indian or Bengladeshi; she likes to think of it only as her food.

how about Sapphire on the west side nr TW bldg & Amma on E51st?

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Dear JJ,

As a restaurant claiming Tamil vegetarian antecedents, Chennai Garden should be judged (from an a la carte menu, but not buffet) on the authenticity in flavor, texture, accompaniments etc. for at least the following dishes:

Plain dosa

Plain paper butter dosa

Paper butter masala dosa

Plain rava (semolina) dosa

Chennai idli

Medu vada

Sambar [pigeon pea dal that accompanies all of the above, and is itself a meal, with rice)

Fresh chutney

If I am not being presumptuous, it would be wonderful if eGulleteers wishing to familiarize themselves with the authentic elements of this cuisine were to persuade Ms. Ammini Ramachandran [Peppertrail; an eGulleteer and denizen of Manhattan] to organize an eating/teaching meal, at Chennai Garden or a venue of her choice. Well-versed about the fine points of Tamil vegetarian cookery, this food historian and writer is exceptionally knowledgeable as well about the vegetarian cookery of the various communities of Kerala. A better teacher and guide would be hard to find.

Re: Angon, in addition to its standard menu, I hear that Chef Mina is open to special requests, preferably made in advance. Why not challenge her skills and your taste buds by requesting dishes central to her native cuisine? You may be helping New Yorkers enter an entirely unknown world of tastes and flavors!

The Muslim cuisine of Bangladesh has sub-regional styles and corresponding specialties. However, a Bengali seeking to test the chef’s skills, after ascertaining whether her pleasure lay in home cooking or in the style of grand feasts, might well opt for some of the following:

1. Ilish maaccher Shorsher Jhaal (peti): a thin stew of mustard paste with the belly cuts of Hilsa fish, Tenualosa ilisha.

2. Ilish maaccher paaturi (peti) : belly cuts of Hilsa with mustard paste wrapped in banana leaves and roasted in embers.

3. Chitole maaccher peti: the belly of Citala citala scraped into a mince, formed into balls and cooked in an appropriate manner.

4. Paangaash fish (Pangasius pangasius) from Bangladesh, not Thailand, cooked in an appropriate manner.

5. Mourala maaccher tok: Amblypharyngodon mola, a whitebait sized member of the carp family, fried nearly crisp and stewed in a sweet-sour sauce; with plain rice

6. Bhuna duck accompanied by Bhuni Khichuri

7. Chevon rezala ; braised goat in a milk sauce with red/green chilies [make sure the goat is young, fresh-killed; see what cuts she uses: ideally, the bony foreshank and seena, breast, are to be preferred over the hindquarter; Nigerian Dwarf breed is best, followed by Boer, then Spanish; frozen feral goat from Oceania may not hit the spot.

8. Kacchi biriyani: biriyani made from marinated goat meat and partly cooked rice finished together in the same vessel.

9. Lau-er ghonto: bottle gourd, Lagenaria

10. Kochoor loti: taro stems

11. Chhola-r (booter) dal: chickpea dal; also Lemon mung dal.

12. Dimer halua with porota: egg halvah with paratha, a sweet or brunch dish.

The fish and meat dishes should be tasted on separate occasions.

To jgould,

Sorry, have not been to either Sapphire or Amma. Have forgotten to add Vatan to the list of vegetarian restaurants; it serves very good authentic Gujarati food.

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thx for the very detailed reply. does one equate Indian cuisine with vegetarian in general?

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does one equate Indian cuisine with vegetarian in general?

Not at all. Just that there are relatively few Indian vegetarian restaurants in Manhattan, and the types of foods that they serve are not necessarily well duplicated by their non-veg cousins. Leaving them out makes for a very unbalanced picture of what Indian cuisine is like. Additionally, the 4 vegetarian places mentioned represent the top echelon of their kind in Manhattan. At least 2 or 3 of them should be included in your cut, in order to include a representative sample of the diversity of Indian cuisine.

Re Angon: With all due respect to the hard work and tremendous initiative of the Bangladeshi restaurateurs in Manhattan [note: not NYC], many of their interpretations of the 'standard' 'North Indian' menu fall short in execution; this can be problem even with bona fide Indian or Pakistani chefs. [i am not trying to imply that Angon does not do standards well; just that even the most miserable Bangladeshi "indian" place could turn out excellent bangladeshi food, if only the customer would be willing to give it a try]

On the other hand, the same Bangladeshi contingent could probably turn out superior renditions of their own cuisine, should the American consumer approach it on its own terms: bony fish and meat on the bone; a range of textures, including chewy/fibrous, etc.; no prejudices set in place by self-styled critics/judges of subcontinental regional styles who may have no real expertise whatsoever.

Keeping all this in mind, i presumed to suggest some preparations that a Bangladeshi chef like Shrimati Mina might excel at. I would hope that an American sitting down to a strange tasting dish would then understand it to be a true and excellent example of its kind. He/she may not like it, but will have at least met an authentic, well-prepared dish from the native repertoire of the chef. It will be like meeting a Bengal tiger face to face, claws, teeth, musky smell and all, not a sanitized stuffed doll or a calendar picture!

Hopes this helps you


Edited by v. gautam (log)

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Devi (for upscale)

Tabla (for fusion)

Angon

Chola (for pan-Indian)

yes, that's four.

I can't choose two. It's kind of like fitting a square peg into a round hole. :wink:

Soba

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does one equate Indian cuisine with vegetarian in general?

Hopes this helps you

re: above detailed reply: very much so!! thanks. myself, would lean towards non-vegetarian, but appreciate & respect all.


Edited by jgould (log)

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Devi (for upscale)

Tabla (for fusion)

Angon

Chola (for pan-Indian)

yes, that's four.

I can't choose two.  It's kind of like fitting a square peg into a round hole.  :wink:

Soba

almost impossible to select 2 of any cuisine :biggrin: thx for the four. do want to try Devi as a hi-end representative, as well as Amma

p.s. on chowhound: some recent negative comments re: Tabla.

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Dear JJ,

As a restaurant claiming Tamil vegetarian antecedents, Chennai Garden should be judged (from an a la carte menu, but not buffet) on the authenticity in flavor, texture, accompaniments etc. for at least the following dishes:

Plain dosa

Plain paper butter dosa

Paper butter masala dosa

Plain rava (semolina) dosa

Chennai idli

Medu vada

Sambar [pigeon pea dal that accompanies all of the above, and is itself a meal, with rice)

Fresh chutney

....

I ask for a few recommendations, and you post so much more! Thank you! I'll have to revisit Chennai Garden with those suggestions in mind.

Re: Angon, in addition to its standard menu, I hear that Chef Mina is open to special requests, preferably made in advance. Why not challenge her skills and your taste buds by requesting dishes central to her native cuisine? You may be helping New Yorkers enter an entirely unknown world of tastes and flavors!

The Muslim cuisine of Bangladesh has sub-regional styles and corresponding specialties. However, a Bengali seeking to test the chef’s skills, after ascertaining whether her pleasure lay in home cooking or in the style of grand feasts, might well opt for some of the following:

In my experience, when you ask Ms. Avad to prepare something off the menu, she makes homestyle Bangladeshi dishes. (At least, that's what I'm told they are.) Next time I'm at Angon, I'll definitely inquire about the dishes you've mentioned. I can't wait!


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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Devi (for upscale)

Tabla (for fusion)

Angon

Chola (for pan-Indian)

yes, that's four.

I can't choose two.  It's kind of like fitting a square peg into a round hole.   :wink:

Soba

almost impossible to select 2 of any cuisine :biggrin: thx for the four. do want to try Devi as a hi-end representative, as well as Amma

p.s. on chowhound: some recent negative comments re: Tabla.

Amma is all right as an Indian restaurant. I used to live literally across the street from the restaurant and have gone to it more than a few times, especially in recent months.* Things have waned markedly since Chef Mathur's tenure there, but that's probably my own sensibility.

Soba

*Well, not quite true. As of next weekend, my new neighborhood will be one block from Zabar's. :biggrin:

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Devi (for upscale)

Tabla (for fusion)

Angon

Chola (for pan-Indian)

yes, that's four.

I can't choose two.  It's kind of like fitting a square peg into a round hole.  :wink:

Soba

almost impossible to select 2 of any cuisine :biggrin: thx for the four. do want to try Devi as a hi-end representative, as well as Amma

p.s. on chowhound: some recent negative comments re: Tabla.

Amma is all right as an Indian restaurant. I used to live literally across the street from the restaurant and have gone to it more than a few times, especially in recent months.* Things have waned markedly since Chef Mathur's tenure there, but that's probably my own sensibility.

Soba

*Well, not quite true. As of next weekend, my new neighborhood will be one block from Zabar's. :biggrin:

welcome to the neighborhood! home of zabar's, fairway, & citarella. as i'm sure u know, bet these, pretty much everything can be found. unfortunately, this does not extend to the restaurant scene.

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[...]

p.s. on chowhound: some recent negative comments re: Tabla.

I've never been to Tabla. What kinds of negative comments, and how reliable do you think those who posted them are?


Michael aka "Pan

 

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I have to put a huge, colorful emphasis on the word fusion in describing Tabla. If one wants authentically regional Indian food, Tabla ain't the place to go. If one wants food that's either French or Indian in origin, and that has common elements of Indian-ish spicing to it, then Tabla's a good bet.

I had a fantastic meal at Tabla during Restaurant Week; it was by far the best RW choice my friends and I could have made. But Tabla isn't a strictly Indian restaurant.

That New Indian Cooking thread that Soba listed (the link didn't work for me, BTW) contains a very interesting, lively, and testy discussion about the ways in which Tabla has taken Indian cooking in America.

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