Friday, March 6, 2009
Guest Foodista Courtney Reviews Dhaba
She reviewed Marvin, then Seasonal, and now Guest Foodista Courtney, tackles modern Indian food at Dhaba, from the heart of Manhattan's Curry Hill. Enjoy her colorful and always insightful review.
Dhaba - 108 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016
6 Train to 28th Street
My roommate and I walked the 15 blocks from our East Village apartment on a cold February evening to try and work up an appetite to better indulge in our approaching Indian feast. Dhaba, the Indian word for restaurant just outside of town, is conveniently located in Manhattan's "Curry Hill," a crowded block of Indian restaurants, each one trying to outshine the other (with only a little less sparkle than our East Village 6th street).
Hundreds of colorful fabric spools decorate one side of the restaurant, while hanging silver light bulbs, rainbow beads and random colorful pieces of fabric hang from the ceiling. The waitstaff cruises between the aisles pushing carts of food and pre-app chips. The room is warm and smells like curry.
Avoid ordering fried appetizers like Kurkuri Bhindi because they are drowned in vinegar. Crunchy okra tastes like British French fries. The Khatte Baingan, an eggplant drenched in sauce and parmesan cheese, should also be avoided. If only I had some naan lifeboats with our appetizers, I could've made an Indian pizza. The appetizers weren't all bad, the Lusani Gobi (pictured above) was a male favorite. What was not a male favorite was the Chicken Tikka Masala, a disappointment when it's usually a classically great dish. The other entrees we ordered were quite delicious--like the classic Tawa Aloo Gobi (potatoes and cauliflower in a tomato based sauce) and the Navratan Korma (fresh veggies, pineapple and nuts in a creamy almond sauce), which was very filling. Our dessert, the Suji Ka Halwa, a mixture of cream of wheat, cinnamon and sugar was fantastic and tasted like a yogurty ice cream of wheat. The menu is large, a bit overwhelming, and it's important to pick your entrees carefully. Best bet - take a peek at what your neighbors ordered.
Drinks - We ordered a bottle of French white wine, a Sancerre that hit the tongue like a chardonnay and then disappeared like a pinot. It was fantastic. Our after dinner coffee and Baileys were American and delicious.
Service and Cost:
The service at Dhaba is slow on crowded nights but attentive on slow nights. The waitstaff is friendly and eager to tell you the best dishes, but a little on the nervous side. Starters and side dishes range from $1.50 - $10.95, breads from $2.50 - $4.95, main courses from $10.95 - $20.95, all-you-can-eat lunch buffet is $9.95 (except Sunday, $12.95).