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

 

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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

Tamarind

41-43 E 22nd St. Ste 43 New York, NY 10010(212) 674-7400tamarind22.com

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Tamarind has more game than Vishnu has arms. In fact, Tamarind is easily my favorite Indian restaurant in the city, if not the world. And yes, I’ve been to India. Granted only Mumbai, and I’m sure I only just scratched the surface, but one can’t eat in every restaurant in the world now can they?

So, back to Tamarind’s sheer awesomeness on every level. First and foremost I’d like to give a shout out to the décor. Unlike so many other Indian eateries, Tamarind doesn’t feel the need to play into a “themed” atmosphere. It’s actually quite contemporary and quite beautiful.

And, like in most Indian restaurants the service is warm and friendly, as well as accommodating. I know it’s a stereotype, but at least it’s a good one.

But Tamarind isn’t all show. When it comes to the plate, they truly take Indian food to another level. Virtually everything I’ve ever had there is perfection. But here are a few of my favorites:

The Lobster Masala is excellent. A lighter option than the chicken version and so much more unusual for typical Indian menus.

Another fav is an off-menu ask. Get them to make you the special cauliflower. It’s fried using a ketchup based sauce and it is the best thing cauliflower has ever done in its life.

And last but not least, the garlic nan. Now, they used to not have this on the menu either, but they made it better than anyone else, including the places that actually do have it on their menus.

Beyond that, there are scores of other dishes that are great, from vindaloo to korma to saag paneer. And all of it you can ask to be spiced specifically to your liking. As I said, very accommodating.

So skip Little India and do yourself a solid by booking Tamarind.

5 teeth