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More praise for Banjara


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Restaurants & Bars Manhattan

More praise for Banjara

Asher | | Apr 5, 2001 06:26 PM

I dined there last night with my wife and our good friend, Jimmy Z. of this very board. We were all very happy with our experience. Banjara has received a lot of comment here, most very favorable, so I will be brief.

The chicken dumpakht, which one may liken to Indian chicken pot pie (I know I'm going to get flamed for this. "Asher, you ignorant American, dumpakht is nothing like chicken pot pie...."), was very good. The soft, sweet pouri-type raised bread was like a canopy over the succulent chunks of chicken swimming in a rich, creamy sauce.

Although not on the menu, my wife's favorite dish is chicken tikka masala, which the chef cooked mildly, to her liking. Unlike many other restaurants, the sauce was neither too creamy, nor too tomato-y. But I was actually glad not to see it on the menu. One can walk ten feet down Sixth Street to get such ubiquitous dishes. There are far more interesting items on the menu.

I ordered the salan chicken curry, which was very good as well. It had a perfect amount of garlic, ginger and onion, ingredients which can, if not prepared correctly, overpower the dish. The chicken meat in the salan curry, like in the tikka massala, was very high quality and perfectly cooked.

Jimmy Z. ordered the lamb palak ghost (boo!), which consisted of boneless lamb in a puree of spinach, tomatoes and ginger. Again, the quality of the lamb was superb - two inch thick pieces of lean meat, perfectly prepared, with a pink center and dusted with rich but not overpowering spices on the outside. This was one of the best lamb dishes I've had in a long time.

Downsides: The garlic naan was unexceptional. Then again, we're talking about bread here. Very rarely am I moved by bread. The wine list could use some work. The chef, clearly very talented as well as friendly (he came to the table to chat), is a sommelier as well, so it shouldn't be too difficult to strengthen the wine list with a few more better-quality selections that can match up to the complexities of Indian cuisine. But the beer list is quite nice, with a few dark beers and a few draft selections, and an argument could be made that beer is better suited to Indian food than wine, anyway.

By the way, the prices were extremely reasonable. Appetizers - $3-7; entrees $8-19.

In all, I highly recommend Banjara.

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