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CLASSY- RICH- INDIAN – MODERN – INVENTIVE
OUT OF 10
FOOD-8 SERVICE-7 DECOR-8 PRICE- MODERATE VIBE- BUSINESS CHIC
As the weather turns colder; warm, hearty dishes reign supreme, but no, don’t wander down to get a familiar cheap curry from the local rugged Indian hole-in-the-wall; you can do so much better.
Tamarind brings elegance and refinement to a cuisine that is as complex in flavours and ingredients as any other nationalities finest dishes. The Tribeca restaurant is grand and denotes business chic compared to the 22nd Street cosier, sexier, organza-draped booths. Both would be great for groups and 22nd Street better for a date.
Whatever frame of mind you are in, both restaurants serve up exquisite, generous Indian food at a slightly higher cost than a chain like Balucchi’s or the place on the corner.
The TAMARIND SCALLOPS (12.50) Pan-seared scallops with turmeric, garam masala, poppy seeds and lemon juice were very good, plump and lightly dressed in the spices, but nothing outstanding.
Be warned! If you are a silly girl going to an Indian Restaurant and order a salad, yes even a very good Indian restaurant, you will be disappointed. The AVOCADO CHICKEN SALAD ($9.50) Tandoor roasted chicken, marinated in yogurt, tandoori spices and avocado, with micro lola rosa and mixed greens, olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing, was very poor, the chicken was dry and charred and the dressing was boring. Also the HARYALI ($8.50) Baby arugula, romaine, cucumber, grape tomatoes and red radish, raspberry yogurt dressing was unloved and boring. I think they could improve these dished tremendously with a bit of effort and the myriad of flavours available in their kitchen, but perhaps the chef is antagonistic towards straying too far from Indian roots.
Back into business, stick to the classics and you will not be disappointed. The menu upgrades many common Indian dishes with generous additions of Venison, Lobster, Jumbo Shrimp, Lamb and Goat served amongst decidant and heart-warming flavours.
I think there are no dishes in the curry sections you can go wrong with. The classic chicken curry is deluxed in different varieties such as a MURGH BADAMI Chicken in a creamy almond sauce with saffron and raisins ($21).
For those wanting something different to a curry there are flavourful tandoori dishes which are marinated in spices and baked in tandoor oven. The most noteworthy is the ACHARI HIRAN KI CHHAMPEN ($31) Venison chops marinated in pickling spices, roasted chickpea flour and hung yogurtwhich I had never tasted anything like. The thick crust of chickpea flour and spices enveloped the juicy venison in absolute perfection.
There are numerous options for vegetarians including the JAISALMERI BHINDI, Okra sautéed in sesame seeds, onion seeds, mango and pomegranate powder ($17) and the DAL MAKHNI, Black lentils simmered overnight on a slow fire with onions, garlic and ginger($13).
We were so stuffed from trying several rich, tasty dishes that it would take many visits to attempt to grasp the varied, inventive and generous menu at Tamarind.
It is a wonderful dining experience feasting from so many tasty dishes served in refined silver curry pots on starched white table cloths.
The service can be a little slow and stupid (I mean that in the nicest way of course), but at least you feel like its run by an Indian family rather than some uberthemed mega-restaurant.
Dinner cost about $65 per person without wine. You are paying about 30% more than a regular Indian restaurant but the quality of ingredients and cooking, refined presentation and generous portions still make Tamarind a much wiser choice.
VELY VELY “SWEET AND MEATY”
99 Hudson St. (bet. Franklin & Harrison Sts.)
Manhattan, NY 10013