Indian food has been heating up in NYC, with restaurants offering cuisine from the subcontinent (or at least inspired by it) opening at nearly every level and price range in the past year, from an all-day cafe to an elegant fine-dining restaurant with a killer wine list. Here are the best of the new places.
Restaurant, Indian, $$$
Indian Accent, a sophisticated and refined fine-dining spot in the Le Parker Meridien hotel, is a transplant from New Delhi, where the original restaurant of the same name is considered among the best in all of Asia. The flavors are authentic enough to leave even recent Indian ex-pats swooning with joy; if you don’t go for the tasting menu, definitely try the dosa with mushrooms and water chestnuts, and the cloudlike makhan malai dessert which tastes of of saffron and roses. Although it’s notoriously tough to pair wine with the spicy cuisine, the sommelier can guide you to the perfect choice from his well-selected list.
Restaurant, Indian, none
Chef Floyd Cardoz, formerly of Tabla, is back from a stint in Bombay (where he was a partner in Bombay Canteen) to thrill tastebuds at Paowalla, where he creates authentic yet modern Indian dishes and some of the best breads NYC has ever seen. A wise move is to create a carbohydrate-heavy meal sampling the breads and chutneys, plus some small plates including the fiery three-chile chicken and the burrata with dal.
Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Suvir Saran, under whose watch Devi was the first Indian restaurant in the U.S. to earn a Michelin star, is now weaving culinary magic at Tapestry. The West Village spot isn’t purely Indian—the menu’s influences span the globe—but the chef’s subcontinental heritage comes through in dishes such as besan-onion-chile paratha and masala fried chicken.
Restaurant, Indian, none
Lively and constantly packed, Babu Ji in the East Village’s Alphabet City offers Indian flavors as viewed through an Instagram filter: familiar and reasonably authentic, but vastly different from the traditional dishes you’d find along East 6th Street’s Indian row nearby. Fetch your own beer from the refrigerator standing in the corner, and be sure to order their take on gobi manchurian and the yogurt croquette in a sauce flavored with ginger, green chiles, and beets.
Bakery, Cafe, Restaurant, Indian, $$$
Houston favorite Pondicheri—which has been nominated for a James Beard Award—has ventured northward. Its cavernous space in the Flatiron area works as a bakery and cafe with casual counter service during breakfast and lunch hours, in the evening hours transitions to a traditional restaurant format with a pan-Indian dinner menu that includes dishes like goat-and-lentil samosas and cashew cardamom lamb.
Restaurant, Contemporary, $$$
Vegetarian and vegan restaurant Nix, while not Indian, takes more than a few cues from the subcontinent for dishes like tandoor bread and clay oven-cooked beets with pistachios. Chef John Fraser proved first at Dovetail (particularly via his “meatless Mondays”) and then at vegetable-centric Narcissa that he’s got a way with produce; this, his newest spot, is more casual than either of the others but still a buzzy destination spot—and it’s already earned the Michelin star to prove it.