Just a couple of blocks from the Lincoln Center is this spacious neighborhood restaurant with great service – but slightly inflated prices for the mains. We should have ordered the mucver (zucchini pancakes) but instead opted for the sigara borek ($6.50), uninspiring feta cheese pastries. The karides sote (sauteed shrimp, $17) were smaller than expected and surprisingly bland. Efes beer in two varieties is great value at $5, but all in all this joint seems like a place for small appetites and unadventurous palates.
Subway: 72nd st (B,C, 1,2,3)
The former site of the short-lived Latin-Caribbean family joint Fonda Cubana (awful decor and an uninspiring menu) has been occupied by a Bangla-owned Indian restaurant that has only partially removed the murals, blending the ersatz beach scenes into a cartoon-rendered Taj Mahal vista. But no matter, as the food is exquisite – delicately flavoured yet bold and punchy at the same time. Gobi Manchurian (cauliflower marinated and fried in ginger-garlic corn starch, $5) was a killer appetizer, excellent for clearing a blocked nose. In the mains, Goan fish curry (with a choice of salmon or tilapia, $14) may not have been coconutty enough, but there were no other lapses whatsoever: the Paneer Tikka Masala ($11) was creamy and just the right side of the Brick Lane curry house style, while the Hyderabadi biryani was so fresh the grains of soft rice were practically dancing on the plate. The naan was a delight to tear into warm pieces, and service was extra attentive and friendly. I’m proud to say this is my local neighborhood Indian joint and I will be flying their flag for as long as they keep up these high standards.
Subway: Halsey St. (L)