We wanted to get some upscale, fancy Indian dining, and I found this spot. It was said to be kind of a hidden gem, and I could see why. On the day of our reservation, we walked right pass it, and couldn’t find it! It has very “quiet” sign, not super noticeable. Some may say “elegant” while some others might say too quiet. After finding the location, I appreciated the modern and quiet sign.
When we walked in, we were greeted by impressive candle holder against the wall, I think it was maybe 6 feet tall? It was really great piece of an art, certainly eye-catching.
The inside was really spacious, and very bright with natural light coming in from large windows. This restaurant sits at the corner of the building, and both corner walls were covered from floor to ceiling with large windows. The interior was really beautiful, and had lavish lighting fixtures, although, it really didn’t need any additional lighting during the day.
They have second floor dining space as well, they can accommodate quite a lot of customers. I didn’t go upstairs so I don’t know how big the second floor actually is, but it seemed big enough. Since the second floor only occupies the half of first floor dining area, the natural light can flood in from the windows on the second floor as well. This also allows the half of the first floor has very high ceiling that goes up all the way up to the second floor ceiling, creating the open feel, also makes it look much larger than the actual space.
They also have booth seating alongside the wall, and smaller dining space at the back, beyond the wooden staircase that leads to the second floor dining area. This might be better for the customers who wants a bit quieter dining, away from loads of people. But then, when we went, there was absolutely no one there. It was when they just opened up for lunch, so we were their first customers. And yes, more customers came in while we were there.
They first brought complimentary papadum with a dipping sauce. It was crisp and although it didn’t have a lot of flavor, it was good with the dipping sauce. It was a nice difference from bread, it doesn’t fill you up as much, but still get a little something into your stomach while you wait for the main food. The dipping sauce was sweet at first bite, with heat rising from the back of the throat afterwords. It had a nice kick to it.
We started with couple of drinks. They had nice variety of specialty cocktails, enough to please everyone with different preference on liqueur and flavors. We ordered Lychee Martini ($14) and Ginger Caipirinha ($13). I love Lychee, so when I see a Lychee cocktail, it is hard for me to resist. This one is made with Stoli strawberry, lychee liqueur, lyhee puree and pineapple juice. It was really great, strong lychee flavor coming from both liqueur and the puree. It was sweet and super delicious. Ginger Caipirinha is made with Leblon cachaca, ginger liqueur, fresh ginger and lime wedges. This was sweet but refreshing with lime wedges in it. The ginger was very present, without becoming too spicy or overwhelming.
For food, we ordered Executive Lunch Menu which is a prix-fixe lunch menu. It comes with a choice of appetizer, two choices of Entrées, and a choice of dessert ($26/person).
For appetizer, we chose Mango Jhinga and Chikundari Croquettes.
Mango Jhinga is prawns cooked with mango, mustard seeds, and curry leaves. It came with three plump prawns, nice size, and packed with flavor. It had the sweetness from mango and spiciness from the mustard seeds and curry leaves. The flavors were well balanced, very tasty.
Chikundari Croquettes, although it almost sounds like chicken, but it is made with beet root, ginger, chili, fennel seeds, cilantro, mango mustard chutney. It had a bright, very deep red-purple color from the beet root. I am not a big fan of beet, but this one was quite tasty. With all sorts of herbs other ingredients mixed in, it was very flavorful. It was earthy and comforting. The mango mustard sauce was also really tasty, they do great job at mixing sweet and spicy flavors here.
For the main, we chose Sarsao Machli & Nadir Palak for one, and Kashmiri Murgh & Ghosht Patiala for the other. They were served with salad, tomato rice, and dalchini naan. The plates came with nice elegant presentation.
Sarsao Machli is a salmon with coursed mastard, lemon juice, green chili, and coconut sauce. I haven’t had much Nadir Palak is made with lotus root, spinach, garam masala, and chili. I haven’t had much luck when it comes to Indian fish curry, so I was not sure about the Sarsao Machli, but goodness this was tasty! It really is not really a fish curry, so that might be another reason why. The coconut sauce was really tasty too, it complimented salmon perfectly. Nadir Palak also had a really good flavor, good kick to it, nice spinach flavor.
Kashmiri Murgh is Tandoori chicken cooked with yogurt, fenugreek leaves, red pepper, mint almond chutney. It was very tasty, well flavored and not too juicy but not dry. Enjoyed the subtle flavor of the mint almond. Ghosht Patiala is lamb cooked with tomato, onion, yogurt, cashew nut, saffron, and whole spices. It was really good, the tomato and saffron gave really nice flavor, and good nutty-ness from the cashew. They were all very well done. The tomato rice was very yummy too, I really liked it.
They brought one Naan per person, but they were good size. They were really fluffy and warm, I really liked them. And for the amount of food we received, one Naan was enough. Well, if we had more, we would’ve totally finished them with no problem… We also received curried potato (?) on the side, which was really, really tasty! I wish if we had more of this one too.
The thing I liked about this place the most was the fact that they brought hot towel at the end of the meal, before the dessert! Great way to get your hands clean after the meal, before digging in to the desserts.
For the prix-fixe dessert, they only had two options, so we ordered one of each. They were Mix Nut Kulfi and Tiramisu. I thought “Tiramisu at Indian restaurant?” but I love tiramisu, so what the heck, let’s go with it.
They had such nice presentation, elegant and pretty. Tiramisu was really good! Moist, sweet, velvety, and delicious. Loved the little chocolate stick too. The extra sauce (raspberry, I think) was not necessary since it was tasty on its own, but I can see how people might really enjoy the added fruity flavor.
Mix Nut Kulfi looked like some sort of pudding, but Kulfi is an Indian ice cream. It is frozen dairy dessert, and is more firm/solid than regular ice cream. This one had some chewy-ness to it also, and very dense. It was very tasty, great nutty flavor and very sweet.
We added cappuccino ($5) to go with our dessert. It was creamy and tasty, I like having cappuccino at the end of my meal. It was a nice size cup too. A good cup of coffee.
They have plenty of bathrooms, behind the staircase to accommodate the size of this restaurant. They were all uni-sex, and there was a bench under the candles right across from the first bathroom door. Maybe for the people who is waiting for a bathroom to become available? It is kind of an odd place to have a bench, but I am sure there is a purpose…
The inside was as modern and clean as the rest of the restaurant. The golden sink was eye-catching. They had a piece of fabric framed on the wall, which was interesting. Maybe an old fabric from traditional clothing?
Our “fancy” Indian dining was a success, we enjoyed our lunch special. Everything was well prepared, beautifully presented, and the service was top class. Our waitress (Corina? Not sure of the spelling…sorry!) was fantastic. She was very polite and friendly, and took a very good care of us. It might not be a “traditional” Indian cuisine, but it was all tasty regardless. Great hidden gem indeed!
Tamarind – 99 Hudson St, New York, NY 10013