For years I've desired to try more Indian food. A recent stop into New York City was just the excuse to scratch this, dare I say spicy, itch.
The destination: Murray Hill, often times referred to as Curry Hill due to the population of Southern Asians living and opening ethnic restaurants in the area beginning in the 1970s.
Yelp restaurant ratings aren't an entirely accurate way of ranking restaurants, but our choice, Pippali at Lexington and 27th, has 4.5 stars. So I had high expectations, despite being a relative newbie to the cuisine.
This was my first taste of Indian food since visiting The Red Fort in London's Soho district last September (which, by the way, has 4 stars. And it was incredible).
We had a lot of catching up to do, so it took our waiter three tries before we decided on drinks. Mango lassi was the beverage of choice for the evening - a sweet, yogurt based drink with the consistency of a thin milkshake. It helps cut through the spice, she said, sipping on it sparingly to reserve the drink for the actual meal. As she said this, I was half way done with mine.
Needless to say, it was delicious.
We started with Seedai Pakodi, an assortment of onion, spinach and cauliflower fritters served with a variety of sauces. They were underwhelming and dry, but hope wasn't lost yet.
Next up was Bikaneri Paneer, a spiced Indian cheese entrée. Paneer is a raw, unaged cheese made similarly to ricotta with more salt (yum) and less moisture. In this presentation, it was cubed and looked like tofu. This dish was jam packed with flavor, though not too spicy.
Jaipuri Kofta followed - chickpea, spinach and green pumpkin dumplings that looked like meatballs. It was served in an onion, ginger, and garlic masala sauce (three of my favorite ingredients ever). This was easily my favorite part of the meal, as the hearty flavors of the dumpling balanced nicely with the sweet, earthy sauce.
Somewhere amongst the arrival of these dishes came batura, described on the menu as "fluffy deep-fried bread." Apparently the fluffiness of the bread is crucial, because we triple checked that this bread was indeed of the puffy variety. Our waiter got the hint, stopping by twice during the meal to reiterate that the bread would be brought to our table as soon as it came out of the deep-frier in order for us to experience maximal puffiness.
The batura was worth the wait and the calories. If it involves carbs and deep-frying, it's hard to go wrong.
It was a tasty, flavor packed meal. I'd go back.