Saturday, January 23, 2010

A perfect Saturday afternoon

When I first moved to NYC I lived in Murray Hill/Gramercy.  The area itself was ok, but I vastly prefer my current neighborhood.  The one thing I really miss about my old neighborhood was its proximity to Curry Hill - a stretch of Lexington Avenue between 27th and 30th Streets.  There were two things that I loved about Curry Hill, Kalustyans and all of the great Indian restaurants.  Since Alex and I had no plans today, and the MTA seriously screwed up our original lunch plans by doing construction on both the downtown 1 line and the 7 line to Flushing, we decided to head down to Curry Hill to have some Indian for a late lunch.  

I poked around online briefly and the one place that sounded the most interesting to me was a restaurant named Dhaba that didn't open until over a year after I moved away from the area.  Dhaba focuses on Northern Indian cuisine and after reading this review from the New York Times I knew exactly what I wanted to order.  We started with the Tale Huay Kaju (spiced cashews, black pepper, chaat masala), then gorged ourselves on Dahiwala Murgh (white meat chicken, yogurt, fresh coriander, onions, bay leaf, black cadamom),  Kadai Goat (goat, onions, bell peppers, dry kastoori meth, ginger), the chili-onion naan, missi roti, and basmati rice.  Several hours later I am still unspeakably full, but man was it worth it.  The cashews were the perfect start to our meal - light and buttery, with the perfect blend of spices, cilantro, onion and green peppers.  The chicken was light and creamy, with easily distinguished notes of coriander (aka cilantro) and cardamom.  It was also incredibly moist.  The goat was very tender, which is unusual for goat.  I usually find goat to be tough and stringy.  The sauce for the goat was warm and a touch spicy.  The chili-onion naan was awesome dipped in either sauce.  I wish more restaurants added chili-onion naan to their menus!  The roti was nothing to write home about - the texture reminded me of a cross between a rather dry pancake and a johnny cake.  And the taste was nothing special.  As for the basmati rice, it wasn't as light and fluffy as I would have liked.  Instead it was topped with a spoonful of peas and some cumin seeds.  But who needs basimati rice and roti when you can stuff yourself with other things?  Since I am too embarrassed to lug my big DSLR to restaurants and whip it out to take pictures of the food, you guys are going to have to satisfy yourselves with some mediocre pictures I took on my little point and shoot in rather dim lighting.  Sorry about that.

More after the jump!


After eating all of that we waddled our way up Lexington to Kalustyans, which is one of my favorite grocery shopping destinations in NYC.  Since the last time I was there they had expanded into the store next door and had doubled their space on the ground floor.  I can't even tell you how excited I was by that.  I loaded up on all sorts of things that I can't wait to use.  I was so excited by all of my purchases that after I got home I lined them up on the counter and took some pictures (you can see one of them above).  I could only fit about half of my loot in the picture.  What you don't get to see is the fresh lemongrass, Turkish baklava and Lebanese baklava (both with pistachios rather than walnuts), the curry powder, the dried galangal, the fresh little green Thai chili peppers, more hot sauce, mango chutney, palm sugar, Korean ssamjang, etc.

After hitting Kalustyans, we were walking to the 1 train through Koreatown when we decided to make a brief pit-stop at H-Mart.  In addition to all of the stuff we had already picked up from Kalustyans, we picked up some Chinese eggplants, thick slices of pork belly, little green Korean squash, enoki mushrooms, some flanken-style short ribs to make kalbi, and even more fresh lemongrass.  I didn't take pictures of those either, but trust me - today's shopping made my weekend.  

After last night's tasty, but not amazing meal at Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken, today has been fantastic!

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