So here we are, my husband and I, in our mid-50s, finally going to our first Indian restaurant! He likes hot stuff - I can't tolerate it well. In addition, I'm allergic to cinnamon and shrimp. Who'd a thunk we'd be able to share a meal and both leave happy?
We were on lower 2nd Ave., hoping to go to Frank for a good Italian meal, but there was a crowd on the street, hoping to do the same, and they'd all got there before us. So we turned north, figuring we'd find something, and there was a branch of Baluchi's. Now I don't know if this chain is "authentic" or not, or is considered to be even good by those in the know, but we decided to throw caution to the wind and give it a shot.
We explained to our waiter that we were completely clueless about Indian food and also let him know about my allergies, since I was pretty sure that cinnamon is widely used in this cuisine. He checked with the kitchen and came back with lots of advice. I could have just about anything from the tandoori side of the menu, but none of the curries and no rice. We started with little mashed vegetable fritters, served with three chutneys - onion, mango, and something green (?). They were very good, especially with the mango chutney.
Next we shared tandoori lamb - chunks of marinated meat, with onions, peppers, tomatoes and slices of potato. This was excellent, if a little spicy for me. Along with the lamb, we had a bowl of fabulous lentils - cooked way beyond "done" - and my husband had the rice, which he said was terrific. We also had a lovely puffy hot bread with garlic and herbs. Our two favorite things were the vegetable fritters and the lentils.
With an Indian beer for me and a couple of Diet Cokes for him, our meal came to something like $32 plus tip. It was an eye-opening experience that we're now quite anxious to build on.
Any recommendations for other Indian restaurants in Manhattan where I might expect the same kind of consideration? "Authentic" isn't all that important to me, since I know nothing about it - and it doesn't have to be cheap - I just want it to be good.