We met up for lunch with one of our friends who has been a New Yorker for almost 90 years. When we asked about a good Indian restaurant in his neighborhood, this is where he recommended. When a foodie who is nearly three times your age recommends a restaurant, you trust it! So, off we went, to this Indian restaurant Aangan.
Aangan means “courtyard” and that is the ambiance and experience this restaurant want to provide, where people come with friends and family and eat, talk, and enjoy. Their Indian courtyard offers casual and elegant, relaxing atmosphere. The interior is rather kept simple, with very light pastel blue and mocha color.
One distinctive feature (to me) was their light fixture. It was rather large, colorful and decorative. Since the wall on the street side had large windows from floor to ceiling, it already had plenty of natural lights coming in, so I felt that this was more of decoration than anything else. It was very interesting, and the design on the wall matched the design on the light fixture, bringing out the uniform look to the space.
They have a really great lunch special menu, Lunch Platter (Thali), and comes in three variations; Vegetarian ($10.95), Non-Vegetarian ($11.95), and Seafood ($12.95). They all come with bastami rice, naan, pickle & salad, dal makhani, vegetable of the day, and raita. On top of that, we get to have a choice of appetizer, another entrée, and a choice of dessert. Since there were three of us, we ordered one of each platter.
For the Vegetarian Lunch Platter, we chose samosa for appetizer, and makai kofta for entrée, and rice pudding for dessert. It came in a silver (aluminum?) tray, with each items in smaller aluminum bowls, except for the rice. The vegetable of the day was kind of curried cauliflower.
Each item was appetizing and tasty, not too strong with spice, but yet distinctive flavor. I liked the samosa, reminded me of sweet potato croquet in some ways. Creamy without being too mushy, and very comforting. Each dish provided a different texture and flavor – some spicy, some refreshing, some smooth, some crunchy – but yet working all great together.
For the Non-Vegetarian Lunch Platter, we chose chicken malai kebab for appetizer, lamb vindaloo for entrée, and rice pudding for dessert. The chicken malai kebab was very different from what I pictured, I imagined it would come with skewer(s)… But it was more like a piece of flat chicken meat. It was really tasty regardless, packed with flavor. I just wished if it was a bit bigger in portion…
Lamb vindaloo was spicy and had nice chunks of lamb meat under the spicy marinade. The meat was tender and juicy, it went quite nice with fresh naan. Speaking of naan, they brought many naans in a basket for all of us to share. They were really good, soft, moist, fluffy… it was addictive! I think we only had one naan left when we all finished.
For the Seafood Lunch Platter, we chose tandoori shrimp for appetizer, goan fish curry for entrée, and gulab jamun for dessert. Tandoori shrimp was kind of sad, with just two little shrimps… but they were certainly packed with flavor, it was plump and very tasty. The fish curry was my least favorite, it had a very…well, unique taste that I just was not too fond of. I don’t know how to put it into words, but the fish and the curry sauce did not go together very well, and that made the dish not appetizing.
The dessert, gulab jamun was something I have never heard of, so I wanted to see what it was. It is a ball made with milk and flour, fried, and then soaked in syrup. It was very spongy, and yes, soggy, quite interesting. It didn’t have much “flavor” other than the syrup flavor, and thus very sweet. Perfect for when you need a sugar rush, or maybe with bitter black coffee? Did not become a fan of this dessert, but very glad that I got to try it.
Other dishes like dal makhani and raita were good also. Dal makhani had good amount of lentil beans, creamy, not too spicy. Raita was more like just plain yogurt, but it did help cool down the palate while eating spicy dishes. Basmati rice was very good too, but since it was the only item NOT in a bowl, but placed on the tray, it was a bit harder to eat.
The service was very slow but we were not in rush at all, so we had a nice, relaxing lunch here. The value of the lunch platter is really good for the amount we received. Even thought the portion of some dishes in the bowls were very small, but all together, with naan, we got really full at the end of the meal. This is a great way to try a little taste of so many different Indian dishes, at a very affordable price. If you are new to Indian cuisine, this might be a good way to start, discovering many dishes all at once!
Aangan – 2701 Broadway, New York, NY 10025