Because it's my birthday, I got treated to another great meal tonight: this time it was Chola, on E. 58th St., on that fancy-shmancy little Indian row which also includes Dawat and a couple of others.
My companions and I all agreed that this was the best Indian food we've eaten in our lives (although my sister had to qualify by saying that she had just as good food in London at a place called Madras Woodlands -- well, exCUSE me.)
Anyway, here's what we ate, and it was all great:
Appetizers - roasted tamarind eggplant with fresh cilantro; vegetable bhajia (fritters made with chick pea flour); masala dosa (stuffed with potato and served with sambar and coconut chutney).
Entrees - tandoori grilled shrimp, coated in spices and chilis; lamb crusted in chilies and coconut, also dry (as in sauce-less, not as in moisture-less); spinach and lentils with mustard and coconut.
We also ordered a bottle of perfectly complementary and delicious Alsatian gewurztraminer to go with.
We were too stuffed for dessert, which is saying a lot, because we are three champion eaters.
Chola has excellent service. We felt very well catered-to. The room is sparely decorated, and the way to the restroom is perilously narrow. However, the place is clean and comfortable, and you come for the food, not glitz. We'll be back!