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.

Taïm Falafel and Smoothie Bar

222 Waverly Pl. New York, NY 10014(212) 691-1287taimfalafel.com taimmobile.com

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I’ve only eaten from their food truck, so this review is technically not for the restaurant. Which means décor and service are relatively moot unless you really have a thing for black and green food trucks. But, as far as trucks go I will admit that it’s very nice looking, I suppose. My estimation of the food, however, should hold quite nicely for both, because if they can serve up holy shitters like this off a truck, just imagine what they can do in the kitchen of a full-on restaurant!

Well, fortunately you don’t have to imagine, because I’m about to tell you. For starters let’s give it up to the best falafel sandwich I’ve ever had, no contest. I’ve downed about a hundred of these over the last couple of years and I’m poised to down another hundred without batting an eye, it’s that good. Worth-standing-in-line-for good. So what makes it the messiah of fried chickpeas? First I’d say it’s because these aren’t merely your run of the mill falafels. Be sure to ask for the special falafel of the day and you’ll be taste budazzled by kalamata olive falafels, roasted red pepper falafels, harissa falafels and spinach too. But the awesome doesn’t stop there. These little overachievers go above and beyond, packing their pitas with a cornucopia of goodies that make this thing the size of your head, yet good as all get out.

And if by chance a head-sized falafel sandwich doesn’t sound filling enough for you, I also highly recommend their fries, served with an insanely addictive saffron aioli. So good you won’t know whether to eat it, snort it or shoot it into a vein.

Then, for a tasty beverage to wash it all down with, you can either go smoothie, or in my case, I favor the pomegranate, honey iced tea. Mainly because the other stuff is so damn filling that I couldn’t possibly cram a smoothie down my gullet as well, but also because the iced tea is really great.

So there it is. A falafel food truck worth chasing down like a kid to an ice cream truck.

5 teeth

The Windmill

Chorio, Symi, Greece • 69 55 97 36 95

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It’s worth all 400 steps that it takes to get there. Located in an old windmill, of course, perched high above the town. Sadly, only the cooks are actually inside the windmill itself. Patrons are seated in a small semi-circle of about a dozen tables around it. And while one might expect incredible views from such a height, it is much to the contrary. The tables all face toward the back street, which has its charms I suppose, if you like watching the locals pass by, along with a few street cats.

But what the mill lacks in view it makes up for in spades once the food hits the table, which admittedly can take a while. But when the food comes out this good, I’m happy to let them take their time. No need to rush to failure.

Not a single miss was served. The avocado hummus was wonderfully creamy and fresh. Blended to order and as good or better than anything I’ve ever had.

Doubling down on the chickpeas, we also got a spicy dish as well, seemingly Moroccan inspired and Greek nailed. One bite and you knew these ladies weren’t playing around. Same goes for the spicy steak and vegetables, only this dish seemed to garner its influence more from Thai cuisine. Loaded with such wonderful flavors I was willing to overlook that the meat was a bit on the overdone side.

And then came the crème de la crème, or should I say the crème de la prawn? Basking in a bourdon and saffron cream sauce these crustaceans practically evaporated from the plate. As did the sauce. Worth an order of bread unto itself just to sop it up.

Even dessert was sensational. The whiskey chocolate tart and the lemon cake were both so different, yet equally impressive at seducing their respective places on your tongue. Tart and sweet and texturally gratifying as well. The lemon cake almost had a nut or ricotta-like quality to it. I would’ve examined it further had I not been so busy scarfing it down.

Then came the shocker. The bill. But it’s not what you think. First of all, it’s VERY reasonable for such artistry. So that was a bit shocking. So was the fact that they don’t take credit cards and we were a touch low on Euros, even with the modest pricing. Luckily the owner was so nice he allowed us to pay through our hotel, otherwise I would still be washing dishes as opposed to typing this review.

5 teeth