Location: 489 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY
Best Dish: The Bhuna Gosht or Curried Goat was the star dish of the evening. The spicy goat meat melt in your mouth and the sauce is hands down one of the best we’ve had in some time.
Overall: A stylish hidden gem with immaculate service to cater to your curry cravings.
Lala Sahab is the latest eatery of restauranteurs Abishek and Lala Sharma. The concept for this new venture is a combination of old and new with classic Northern Indian flavors presented in a more approachable modern way. Located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the venue’s curbside view is basic and unassuming, but venture beyond the plain facade and you will find yourself in a sleek trendy space with warm wooden tones and black leather seating. We were escorted to a comfortable rear booth to glance over the menu. While deciding on our first course we nibbled on papadum and chutney, India’s version of chips and dip. Papadum is a crispy light wafers made of lentils that are served with two Chutneys. It would be irresponsible not to warn you about the Chutney, it is hot! This dip is not for the faint of heart, while it is tasty, large amounts will have you reaching for ice cold water. Thankfully the Papadum is yummy all on its own, and we sipped on ice cold brews to wash it all down. We rarely have beers with our meal but we couldn’t resist the allure of imported Indian Lager. In addition to Indian beers, the eatery also has a unique assortment of local brews and a global wine list.
For our first course, we ordered the Chicken Tikka two ways. The first up was the “Tikka-Wale Samosas”. Samosas are a staple in most Indian restaurants and are a perfect vehicle for introducing Indian cuisine to a fledgling foodie. Samosas are deep fried pastries filled with either meat or vegetables. At Lala Sahab, the samosas are filled with savory yet mild bits of juicy chicken Tikka. Our only gripe with the samosas was there were only two we could have easily polished off three or four they were delicious.
Our second Tikka dish was the “Tikka Sliders,” warm tandoori chicken served on a soft buttery bun with thick Masala fries. The fries were more like potato wedges seasoned with a complex combination of spices. The sliders were delectable, the paprika mayo added another layer of flavor to the well-seasoned poultry.
For a real taste of Mumbai, we recommend the “Keema Pav,” a popular Indian street food. Keema Pav is made with seasoned minced lamb, garam masala and onions served with soft white bread. This dish reminded us of a classic sloppy joe but with a spicier flavor profile.
We followed the minced lamb dish with the Bhuna Gosht or curried goat. Chunks of goat meat were slow cooked with a rich shallot and tomato sauce. The goat was paired with warm fresh naan. Though the tender meat and amazing sauce were great with the warm bread we recommend having the rice. In fact, we suggest having both the rice and the naan. Eat the rice with the meat and use the naan to soak up the remaining sauce after the meat has been devoured. Trust us it’s worth the carb overload.
After the rich goat, we had the “Spiced Okra”. If prepared incorrectly okra can be a slimy mess but this okra was well prepared with a spicy kick.
The last dish of the evening was the “Shrimp Biryani”. A Biryani is mixed rice dish with meat and vegetables. Think South America Paella or fried rice. The Biryani is filled with a generous helping of succulent shrimp and Indian spices. While this is an appetizing dish, it is the spiciest of the dishes we ordered. We advise you to take full advantage of the raita or yogurt sauce it is served with. The sauce truly helps temper the spice enough the enjoy the flavor of the dish.
Lala Sahab is a family owned business. The father-son duo of Abishek and Lala Sharma have worked in some of the best restaurants in the world and have combined their love of food and hospitality into a modern dining experience that provides a palatable menu of Northern Indian favorites. The staff is attentive, polite and ready to serve. We truly enjoyed their hospitality.
Lala Sahab also offers a new and unique Indian brunch, with selections like Mom’s Egg Burji, taken straight from Abishek’s memory of waking up on the weekends to his mom’s delicious eggs, made with onions, green peppers, and cumin, served alongside tawa paratha bread and jeera aloo (seasoned potatoes). A series of vegan, vegetarian, meat and seafood thalis are also available and include a large platter served with entrée dishes, rice, lentils, house-made chutneys and warm, made-to-order crispy thin papadum. Such options include Indian Wedding Thali with flavorful butter chicken and lamb rogan josh. Lala Sahab is located at 489 Columbus Avenue between 83rd and 84th. 212-875-1400. LalaSahabNY.com