Location: 102 Lexington Avenue
Items: 1 appetizer, 4 curries, 2 cocktails, 1 bread
Best Dish: The chicken kabob is a great appetizer it revs up the appetite for all the savory entrees offered by Haldi. The meat is warm and there is something magical about the sound of a sizzling platter that just makes you salivate.
Overall: The space is warm friendly and relaxed with a family oriented energy. It is a good place or a meal with family and friends alike. It is a good place to take someone who is new to Indian cuisine as the menu offers a description of each dish as well as a simple to follow key for spiciness and universal appeal.
NYC’s Curry Hill is the destination for lovers of pungent aromatic South Asian cuisine. The few short blocks that make up this sliver of the big apple are over flowing with Indian, Chinese, and Indo-Chinese restaurants all of which can be rather redundant. The wonderful thing about such unique flavors is that each chef combines spices and textures differently, as a result each restaurant holds its own identity despite having similar dishes and flavor profiles. One of the newest eateries in this historic area is Haldi Indian Cuisine. We happened upon the space on a rainy Monday evening.
The brightly decorated space was littered with hungry diners, the scent of expertly prepared curries wafted through the air. We were led to a small table in the rear of the space, beneath the unique wok tiled ceiling. Our friendly server got us started with a complimentary order of papadum, an Indian snack similar to chips. The crispy thin flatbread is served with a variety to chutneys; India’s version of chips and dip. We crunched our way through the basket while awaiting our cocktails. My companion and I chose a round of tailored martinis.
After our drinks we jumped right into our starters. First up was the chicken kabob. There are no sticks getting in the way here, just moist grilled chunks of tender chickens. The dish arrives on a sizzling platter, with roasted veggies. We enjoyed the dish with some fresh naan.
Instead of another starter decided to get right into an assortment of entrees. Our entree tour began with the “Chingri Shorsay Narkol”, the Chingri is a savory shrimp dish wherein succulent jumbo shrimp are cooked in a sauce made of mustard and grated coconut.
Next we had another chicken dish, “Dak Bungalow Curry” is on the menu with a small thumbs up next to it. The symbol appears next to only the most popular dishes on the menu. It denotes a “must try” item. The chicken is absolutely delicious and worthy of its recommendation. The savory sauce is full of flavor, but the dish is not spicy. We savored this dish with some yogurt sauce or raita for an added boost of creaminess.
With the cow being a sacred animal in much of India, beef is rarely is ever found on an Indian menu. As a result other game is sought so lamb and goat are often offered to satisfy meat lovers. We love the flavor of lamb so we went with the “Lamb Chaap” a dish which is similar to a stir-fry. A sultry mix of spices and roasted veggies are presented with the juicy lamb chunks on a piping hot “Mahi Tawa” in a shallow metal pan.
Lastly we sampled a goat dish. “Kosha Mangsho” is a popular dish and Calcutta and for a great reason. The usually gamey taste of goat is expertly masked by a bevy of seasonings and a rich savory sauce.
When visiting Haldi prepare to enjoy a feast of tasty dishes. Each dish is served with the intent that it be shared among the people at the table. We recommend ordering several curries and at least one order of their fresh baked naan. When looking over the menu don’t be afraid of the dishes marked with one pepper, they are a bit spicy but not so spicy they burn off your taste buds. Our only regret with our meal is that we had no room for any of their decadent desserts. There’s always next time.