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Why are Indian restaurants so crummy compared with the glory of Indian cuisine?

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Why are Indian restaurants so crummy compared with the glory of Indian cuisine?

Brian S | | May 10, 2007 02:23 PM

Yes, my title is an overstatement. But not by much. But I read, with much anguish and drooling, about the various masalas of Maharashtra, each an intricate blend of home-ground spices, and the fabled biryanis of Hyderabad.... and I think of the Indian restaurants of Queens, all catering to a predominantly Indian clientele come to town to shop on that crowded 74th street of Indian boutiques... all of them offering steam tables of indifferent food prepared that morning or the day before using cheap store-bought curry powder. Over the years, one or two restaurants opened presenting food head and shoulders above the steam-table crowd, and all closed within a year.

I spent a year in India long ago and never had a good meal, except in a Desi Chinese dive in Varanasi. (Rawalpindi had some good restaurants, but that's Pakistan.) I'm sure there's great food being served on the subcontinent... but all of it in private homes, behind closed doors. Yes, there are a few good restaurants here and there... maybe on Devon Ave in Chicago, or perhaps in Manhattan, catering mostly to non-Indians. But compare this to Chinese restaurants; there should be so many more. Why aren't they?

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