Curious from passing by two weeks ago, and then reading a rave review in the Village Voice, I went to Khushie on Sunday night with five other college kids and had a terrific meal for the price. It's on Essex St., across from the old site of the Essex St. Market. If you're hankering for good home-cooked Indian but can only afford Panna II, check Khushie out instead. Same prices as Panna II but much better food, and bigger portions. We got five separate dishes and three kinds of bread (plain nan, roti, and garlic nan) for a total of $41. Most dishes are in $5.95-$7.95, with shrimp dishes being $12.95-ish. Even a huge plastic cup (like a large size iced coffee cup) of mango lassi is only $2.50. So great deal. And each person got a plastic plate with a HEAPING pile of really great, fragrant rice. Honestly, one plate could feed three people fine. And all of the entrees come on plastic plates, so if you're looking for ambience, go elsewhere, but your loss. Great food, cheap prices, minimal grease.
So on to the food. I ordered Navrattan Korma, which were vegetables in a creamy yellow-orangey sauce. Pretty good, homey and filling. Though Sietsema wrote that they didn't use frozen veggies, I saw a worker carrying in a big bag of - what else - frozen veggies. Hmm. But not complaining. My boyfriend had the Chicken Kali Mirch - very very good. Creamy, fragrant, and bursting with flavor, the sauce was greatjust on the nan. It's like a tikka masala sauce, but with a black peppery zest. Everyone liked that one. I also liked the Chana Saag, chickpeas cooked with lots of dark green spinach. I'm always afraid to order saag dishes cos they might be bland, limp, and GREASY. but this was great. Hearty with spices. The Tikka Masala was much more tomatoey than in other places, and the Bhaigan Bharta was good, too. Just the right amount of seasoning and spicing for everything ordered. And yes, the breads come brushed with oil.
As we were a party of five, space was kinda cramped. We had to shove the only two tiny tables together and were short on the seats. The nice lady who runs the place gave us a milk crate that she cushioned with a hand rag. There's counter space and stools, but they were being used by all the cabbies parked outside. And there were a couple "regular" customers who took take-out orders. So give this place a try fast, I'm afraid that as it becomes more popular, the portions will get smaller and less home-cooked, and it will follow the path of most of the restaurants on 6th street - bland and hugely greasy. But until then, us poor folks will be getting our Indian fix here, even though 6th street is a block away.