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Restaurants & Bars

Nirvana Cafe & Bar: Sri Lankan nr Gramercy Pk

nigella sativa | Dec 13, 200705:43 PM     11

I had the string hoppers ($12 if you eat in, $10 for take-out) tonight served with sambal, a vegetable curry and another sauce (salty, opaque and yellow with bits of chilli peppers in it). The string hoppers were a beautiful nutty pale-taupe color and were unlike the string hoppers I had years ago at Taprobane a Sri Lankan restaurant near Carnegie Hall which closed. Those steamed noodle "beds" were bland while these were flavorful and tender with wonderful springiness and a fair amount of "bite". there were at least 8 hoppers in my order. The curry served wth the hoppers was tasty and the vegetables were cooked properly. The coconut sambal was spicy with red chillies and had a powerful fermented taste from spikes of chewy dried fish. These little wedges taste almost exactly like bacon. The hoppers are made on the premises and are based on red rice flour. Nirvana is a smallish place on the west side of Third Avenue near 18th street. I can't wait to return and order off the menu again!

ps I tried the lunch buffet once and though fairly good, it was not nearly as good as a la carte was.

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