Pondicheri

15 W 27th StNew York, NY 10001 • (646) 878-4375 • PondicheriCafe.com

Yes, it’s yet another fast casual, meat in a bowl format restaurant. Is it just me, or are we slowly devolving into eating like our pets? I mean take away the fork and knife (or chopsticks) and lower the bowl about 30 inches and voila! You’re a dog.

The degradation of humanity aside, Inday is actually pretty cool inside, clearly taking the bowl concept up a notch to posh pet. The food, however, is not so posh. Quite hit and miss actually with the emphasis on the misses.

For example, the raita was a bit yellow. Yes, I’m sure it was raita I ordered and not mayonnaise. No, I’m not 100% certain they didn’t pee in it. Although it did taste weird. Perhaps it was saffron?

Another big miss for me was the lamb dish. The meat was terribly overcooked and completely lacking flavor. Even the rice was bland as sand. And adding insult to injury was the price of the dish. So not worthy. In fact, it was so unworthy even they realized it and subsequently removed it from the menu. Good call.

The things that are worthy are the garlic naan, the chocolate chip and mint cookie and best of all, the chai cake. It’s the stuff of which dreams are made… and chai lattes. Essentially that’s exactly what it is, a chai latte in pie form. Think of a pumpkin pie and a chai latte having sex and there you have it. It’s a lot to wrap your head around, but oh-so perfect for wrapping your lips around. Between that and the cookie this place clearly knows its sweets. Now they just need to get the rest of the menu up to snuff and I’d up this place a knife or two in a heartbeat.

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Khyber

145 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Mumbai 400001, India • (+91) 22 22673227 • http://www.khyberrestaurant.com
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From the outside, the size of this place is very deceiving, because before entering you would never guess that this modest corner facade practically extends for five city blocks in every direction. But as you follow the host upstairs through one dining room after another after another, each carved away on its own little plateau almost like the caves of Cappadocia in Turkey, you start to wonder if you’ve crossed into some sort of parallel dimension where the rules of geography no longer apply.

And while I liked the décor, the crazy plethora of tables had me a touch worried about quality control, because it’s very rare that restaurants with such massive dinning rooms are also amazing. But impressed I was, right from the get go, with the nan, raita and spicy pickled veggies that come to you gratis in a hammered copper dish.

The curry was also wonderful and full of flavor, the chicken acting like a tender sponge, soaking up every last drop of cumin. And the saag paneer was so much better than I had ever had it before, with the spinach and cheese each stepping forward for its moment in the spotlight, as opposed to blending into a sea of mush, which is so often the case.

Easily the best meal I had while in Mumbai. Granted we were looking for Trishna, which is apparently even better, but impossible to find. So after 30 minutes of chasing false directions given to us by everyone from cabbies to passersby to Google Maps, we finally settled for here, but if this is what settling tastes like, well, I can live with that.

4 teeth

 

Little Kebab Station

31 E Main St. Mount Kisco, NY 10549 • (914) 242-7000http://littlekababstation.com

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This place is like the Indian, Westchester version of Zabar’s. It started out as this tiny little four table restaurant and has since expanded into a spice market and now a creperie. But this review is primarily only for the Indian restaurant, which in my opinion serves up the best Indian in Westchester.

The decor, while expanded, still feels small and intimate, the prices are very reasonable and the service is so nice you’ll think they are smoking the saffron. But most importantly back to the food. It is so good, I can only think of one place in NYC that I think is significantly better- Tamarind, which is my favorite Indian in the entire country, if not the world. So, that’s pretty high praise. I’ve even been to India, and this rivals many of the meals I had in Mumbai.

From the various times I’ve been there we’ve ordered all of the usual suspects: Chicken Tikka Masala (ask for spicy), Veggie Paneer, Lamb Vindaloo, Chicken Korma, Saag Paneer, the chickpea dish (forget it’s name) garlic nan, raita and chutney.

Everything is always so fresh you can taste the individual spices popping out of the dish. Unlike at so many other places where it all gets overwhelmed by the curry so much so that you can’t even tell apart the chicken dishes from the lamb.

So happy we have a place like this around the corner.

4 teeth