Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Seva - Stretching the Dollar to the Max

Seva - 30-07 34th street, Astoria, NY 11103
N/W Train to 30th Avenue

I've been hearing such wonderful things about Seva that I invited a group of friends to join me there for Saturday dinner. My brother Peter, his girlfriend Fiana and friends, Gina and Grant joined Dan and me on a fun Indian food adventure. We had a blast and our wallets didn't suffer. Ahh..what a good feeling! We'll be coming back for sure--and you should try it too!

There's not much to report about the atmosphere because Seva is as simple as can be. I knew this going into it and that was just fine with me. The dining room is small yet cozy and I'd say that Seva is more suitable for smaller parties than our larger six person group. But they gladly accommodated us--and we all pitched in to build our six person table out of three small ones.

The only embellishment that I noticed at Seva was their artwork. It was nice to see that they support local artists, as we admired a cool tree-of-life mural as well as a couple of abstract paintings.

Seva really shined with its food preparation, as we all loved our dishes and unanimously agreed on the "awesomeness" of everything. We all went for the $12 three-course dinner prix-fixe because it was truly a deal that couldn't be passed up. Surprised and happy at how much food we got, we rolled out of Seva with full tummies and even fuller smiles.

Chicken Samosa - I love samosas--because let's be honest, what's not to love about something wrapped in a fried pastry crust? Seva's version was wonderful and had great spice to it. The crust was my favorite part because it was buttery and flaky but not greasy. The mint and tamarind chutneys that floated on the bottom were delicious to dip into and I polished off my portion in about two minutes. My dining companions also agreed that this dish rocked. Everyone except Peter ordered it--he got the Mulligatawny soup.

Chicken Tikka Masala - A standard Indian dish, it was by no means boring. The sauce was thick and mildly spicy and the chicken was as soft as can be. While there were about 4 medium-ish chicken cubes in the adorable silver bowl, there was plenty of sauce. I was glad that we ordered a side of Nan to soak up all the sauce, and I nearly licked my bowl clean. This dish is great if you're an Indian-food beginner, as many of us were.

Onion Nan - As you can see from the picture above, this was absolutely scrumptious. The nan was soft and so fragrant from the caramelized onions. And since it bakes in a traditional Tandoor oven, it's artfully decorated with beautiful char marks and its consistency is oh so airy. In addition to the onion, we also got a rosemary nan, which I didn't try because it was out of reach--but my friends said that it was lovely.

Kheer (or rice pudding) - Yum! What a great and simple dessert. It's a vanilla rice pudding with sweet nuts--nothing fancy but uncompromisingly tasty. The portion seemed small but was actually just right, as rice has a way of expanding in my tummy. Everyone agreed that this was gooood!

Other Dishes - There were other dishes that went around the table. Gina got the Lamb Korma with almond and cashew nut sauce - she liked it but couldn't finish it because she was so full. Dan went for the Chicken Rogan Josh, not because of what was in it but because his brother's name is Josh--go figure! He loved the delicious ginger paste in it and like me, he licked the bowl clean.

A couple of people also ordered Gulab Jamun or honeyed dumplings for dessert. I tried one and thought it was good but a little soggy. It reminded me of Ovelia's loukoumades but they weren't as good. I liked my rice pudding better.

Service and Cost:
While the waitstaff was courteous and nice, they were a bit slow. It seemed like they weren't prepared to serve a larger party or to serve a full dining room on a Saturday night for that matter. It took about a half hour to order but once we did, all the dishes came out in good time. Overall, the positives outweighed the negatives so I won't complain too much.

The incredible prices made up for the mediocre service. For 6 complete three-course meals and two orders of nan, the bill came out to $85 and with tip to about $100. That's $17 per person. Is that a steal or what? You do the math!

3 loud Mmmms


  1. I've never eaten at an Indian Restaurant before but always wanted to try it as I love spicy food, after reading this now I def want to try it, maybe I will make a special trip in for it yum :)



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