Oxido

18 W 23rd St. New York, NY10010(212) 256-1072 • oxido.nyc

Oxido_Carousel_Vert_3

I struggle to love this place simply because I don’t understand why you would copy Chipotle only to deliver slightly under that bar. I mean at least with Tres Carnes they upped the game. Or with Indikitch they went Indian instead of Mexican.

Oxido is not bad, mind you. And, it’s closer to my office than Chipotle or Tres Carnes, which is a nice convenience after the epically shitty winter we just had. But once, or rather IF the ice ever thaws, I think Oxido will struggle to keep their doors open through the warmer months.

Reason being that their menu reads better than your palate can discern. Things like poblano chicken, sweet corn relish, cilantro guac, smoked jalapeno salsa, queso blanca and salsa fresca all sound like a who’s who of Mexican magnificence, but once they wrap it all up in that tortilla it all blends together like a Mex-o-matic with virtually no separation in flavors.

Lastly, the décor is nothing special and a bit of a subway car in shape, located on the gravesite of Energy Kitchen (RIP), which I affectionately used to refer to as “Cardboard Kitchen,” so at least this is a step above its predecessor. Unfortunately, that isn’t saying much.

2 teeth

J. Gumbo’s

61 W 23rd St. New York, NY 10010(212) 206-8501 •  jgumbos.com

jambalaya

Finally! Good, quick Cajun in the city. It’s one of my favorite cuisines and it kills me that there’s such a drought of places to get it. I assume it must not be as marketable to the Northern palate, but if we can have Ethiopian restaurants up in this bitch, I think we can do Cajun. Can I get an amen?

So, having fully tipped my hand, you can imagine that I liked it. And while it isn’t flawless, it is WAY better than Indikitch a few steps down the block, which seems to be doing business like gangbusters. But, if you like spicy, and you don’t need to have Indian per se, do like Johnnie Walker and keep walking.

I tried several different dishes, because they let you sample, and the Drunken Chicken won the Battle Royale. Granted the Jambalaya was pretty good as well, but me likey the spicy and it’s a little light on the heat. As was the Etouffée, which was the biggest disappointment of the three. Way too mild to carry the name, which means “choke” as in so hot it causes you to. It also happens to be one of my favorite dishes, so perhaps I’m a bit more critical than most. That said, their hot sauce is pretty impressive, so next time I might just order the Etouffée and get all Emeril on its ass and “kick it up a notch.”

On the value side of things, the portions are generous and come with cornbread, dessert and a drink. The cornbread is passable, but the drink options are unfortunately just the usual suspects courtesy of Coke and Pepsi.

But the biggest miss was the peach cobbler for dessert. Shoulda gone with Dave’s Cookies. The cobbler is soggy and made with canned peaches. Fortunately it’s also made with lots of butter and sugar, so the taste is okay, but consistency is a big uneasy.

Service is friendly and décor is pretty standard with the minor exception of the art on the walls. But none of that matters because what’s truly important is that we got ourselves some bona fide Cajun my friends. I guarantee.

3 teeth

Indikitch

25 W 23rd St. New York, NY 10010646) 590-7152 • indikitch.com

feast_menu_page

From the decor to the menu it’s basically Chipotle for Indian food. So much so that Chipotle could probably sue for copyright infringement.

That said, because nobody knows Indian food as well as Mexican, EVERYTHING has to be explained to EVERYONE. So it literally takes forever to order- basically rendering the fast-service concept moot. This is SO bad in fact, that I literally left the first time I went because one person in front of me took over 10 minutes just to place her order. And she still wasn’t finished when I left! For all I knew, she could’ve still been there when I returned days later- but lucky for me, I went at an off time and went right to the front of the line. I highly recommend doing this if you still choose to go after reading the rest of my entry.

So, now for the food. It’s eh at best. The raves of this place are a shocking commentary on how woefully easy to please most people are when it comes to food. The nan was dry. The vindaloo FAR from spicy- and I even asked for the extra spicy version. Sorry, but vindaloo is supposed to be doubly spicy as is. So if you ask for extra spicy it should be like lava. This was like curry flavored water.

As for the sides, the rice was over cooked and the cucumber salad was bland.

The only thing that was worthy of note was the blood orange lemonade. Far superior to Num Pang’s.

But in terms of Indian, if you really want to taste something worthy of 5 stars, just head a few blocks Southeast to Tamarind. It’s my favorite Indian in the city and it makes this place look like exactly what it is… a gimmick.

2 teeth