I've just eaten at the best Indian restaurant in New York. Yes, I've just come back from Spicy Mina's, where my food was cooked by Mina Azad herself. I had that rarest and most elusive of Chowhound thrills, the same thrill I had ten years ago when I first walked into an interesting-looking storefront named Sripraphai, the same thrill someone brought up on greasy General Tso's takeout would have on visiting Spicy & Tasty for the first time. So this is what the real thing is, so this is how it should be done.
I ordered chicken jhal fry, and I could tell on first looking at it that it was going to be special. In most Indian places, the sauce is a homogenous liquid. Here, it was much thicker, almost solid, with discrete ingredients visible, and the bright red oil had separated out to form a little lake. That's what happens when you use fresh ingredients that you chop and grind yourself. I think that if you looked in Mina's kitchen, the one thing you would NOT see is a jar of curry powder. And the taste didnt disappoint. Each bite had a discrete (though not always discreet) flavor.
The prices are somewhat higher than the takeout menu. Mine was $13 (including tax and rice), though some meat dishes were as low as $11, and vegetarian options were $9 or less. The whole fish was $15.
Gael Greene once said that sex was even better than food. She hasn't eaten at Mina's.