- Critic’s Notebook: Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, in All Its Multiplicity June 19, 2013With its 121 shows of many stripes, not counting the sets on the lesser stages, the four-day Bonnaroo music festival had something for everyone. […]By BEN RATLIFF
- The Writer of ‘Walk, Don’t Run’ Who Had a Revered Technique June 18, 2013Mr. Smith’s biggest hit, “Walk Don’t Run,” became famous in covers by other bands, notably the Ventures. Mr. Smith, the writer of “Walk, Don’t Run,” gave up his career in 1958 to care for his daughter. […]By PAUL VITELLO
- Critic’s Notebook: A Boston Biennial Celebrates the Baroque Tradition June 18, 2013The biennial Boston Early Music Festival last week drew on home-grown and international talent. […]By JAMES R. OESTREICH
- Music Review: Orchestra of the League of Composers Takes On a Challenge June 18, 2013The Orchestra of the League of Composers/I.S.C.M. performed two world premieres as part of its Monday program at the Miller Theater. […]By STEVE SMITH
- Music Review: The Chelsea Music Festival Opens With a Homage June 18, 2013A centennial celebration of Britten’s birth was at the center of the Chelsea Music Festival’s opening night on Friday. […]By ZACHARY WOOLFE
- Critic’s Notebook: Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, in All Its Multiplicity June 19, 2013
Monthly Archives: March 2011
“Can we eat outside?” were the first words out of my mouth as soon as I encountered the hostess at Blue Smoke, that unseasonably warm Friday afternoon. It was near 70 degrees, and I couldn’t even fathom stuffing my face with barbecue food let alone having to do it inside the dimly lit restaurant. “I’m sorry, but the outside dining area is only open after five thirty,” the hostess explained. Of course it is, I thought.
The hostess led my group and I to a spacious booth with a great view of the outdoors, where we would not be dining. The restaurant was dimly lit, with a large bar running from the front door all the way to the back of the restaurant, where a couple early drinkers were already mingling. The bar was lined with bottles of wine all the way to the ceiling, despite the generous amounts of taps lining the wooden bar top. The waitress was very knowledgeable in helping us select beers to go with our meals, although our underage group member (who shall remain nameless) stuck to a soda.
Since Blue Smoke is a barbecue spot, (verified by the huge neon BARBECUE sign posted out front) I decided to be traditional and order the baby back ribs, which the waitress raved about. Now, I can’t vouch for my barbecue tasting skills, but when I took my first bite of those delicious looking hunks of meat, I was sorely disappointed. I had to stop mid-chew and decipher what in fact I was feeling. The ribs were dry and pretty tasteless, especially for a restaurant that boasted to have the best barbecue in New York City! Not quite.
I made sure all my group members tried to ribs to make sure I wasn’t just having an off day with my taste buds, but they all agreed with me. The ribs were a disappointment. I ended up letting Joe finish them up, which he gladly did, after slathering them in a baptism of barbecue sauce.
There is one redeeming factor in any movie with a sucky lead: a great supporting cast. And I definitely picked the best supporting cast! The baked macaroni and cheese was the best food on the table by far. I swear when I had my first taste, I almost cried in happiness. Finally, I wanted to scream, someone has done macaroni and cheese justice! There was no wateriness, it wasn’t too crunchy, it was absolute perfection. Heaven smothered in cheese.
What’s a good meal without an even more amazing dessert? Luckily at Blue Smoke they have an amazing dessert platter, which allows you to sample their apple fritters, sticky toffee pudding, chocolate layer cake, and their key lime pie. I was mostly indifferent about most of these desserts; I’ve seen them done before, and usually better. The apple fritters however, was amazing. it was topped with a cinnamon ice cream and was just the right balance or tart and sweet to top off the beginning of my impending food coma.
Blue Smoke may boast the best “barbecue” in New York City, but if you ask me they should stick to sides, dessert, and drinks and leave the grilling to someone else.
Normally I don’t eat at Indian restaurants. It isn’t because I’m a picky person or anything like that, it’s just because I usually don’t eat very often. I eat Latino food at home and if I do buy anything outside, it’s usually fast food from a local pizzeria or food cart. So when I arrived at Baluchi’s to dine with a group of students from class, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I know that Indian food is spicy but that isn’t a problem to me at all. As for what I had to expect in terms of taste and texture, I had no clue.
Small, quaint with Indian décor, Baluchi’s certainly sets the tone, making you feel as if you traveled to the east though I was a little disappointed there was no Indian music playing. Well there wasn’t any music at all for that matter. Another disappointment came when I tried to order Tandoori Quail. Too often, I find that restaurants advertise an exotic meat on their menu and when you try to order it, it turns out they don’t have it. That’s what happened at Baluchi’s, when I went there. To be honest, I’m not going to fault them for it; I don’t think many New Yorkers regularly enjoy quail to begin with. I just make it a point to order the most exotic looking meal on the menu of any restaurant I go to, just to see if they actually have it. Usually they don’t. Noticing my disappointment, the waiter suggested another meal I might like. He suggested to me, the Combination Platter for my entrée.
The appetizer arrived quickly. I had ordered Boti Kebab which is a cube of lamb marinated, cooked in a clay oven. Sounds tasty, yes? Indeed it was. Often, the lamb I eat comes from street vendors and has a warm, bold flavor and a texture that varies from spongy to gritty. This is where Baluchi’s threw me off. The Boti felt like chicken. Though it was not some dry poultry but rather a meat overflowing with the warm and bold flavor I had expected along with a pleasant mild spiciness that won’t have your tongue causing house fires. The brown meat holds itself together well and requires some chewing before it goes down, each clamp of the jaw releasing saliva producing agents upon your tongue. Also there was a lemon, tomatoes, cucumbers and some kind of herb to go along with it. The plants weren’t bad but average; nothing special. That was just the appetizer.
Next, it was time to feast upon the friendly waiter’s suggestion. Despite the fact that I was the last person to join the table and thus the last person to order, I surprisingly was the first one to receive his entrée. I liked that but did find it a bit strange until I saw the difference between my meal and the meals of my classmates. They had ordered food that was mostly non-meat. Now, I assume the waiter based his suggestion on my size and the enormous amount of masculinity I exude. I say this because as one of my fellow classmates pointed out to me when my plate landed on the table, it was just mainly meat. The combination platter is a large assortment of lamb, chicken and salmon. No rice, few vegetables, no herbivores allowed. Fortunately for my waiter, he was right on his assumption of me. Baluchi’s cooked animals do not disappoint. This lamb was prepared in a different style from my appetizer lamb. It was slightly sausage like in appearance with the soft, spongy texture I had expected earlier. The taste brought me back to familiar places. The fish, hot pink on the outside, was so tender; I had difficulty picking it up with my fork, it would fall to pieces. Once in my mouth, it unleashed bursts of tangy, salty goodness that tickles the tip of the tongue. The chicken filled up an impressive portion of the meal. A pretty shade of pink on the outside with a brilliant glowing white inside, the chicken doesn’t stand out much in terms of taste. It isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination but it just doesn’t “wow” you. It tastes like chicken marinated with Indian spices. If you don’t know what to make of my vague description of it just keep this in mind: it’s satisfying but not exciting.
As I launched my meal into the event horizon of my mouth, I remembered something. I remembered that I was eating during Baluchi’s lunch special hours and that the entire meal is half off. Considering the quality of the meat that’s brought to the table, it’s incredible that you could spend just as much money on a single fulfilling entrée there as you would at McDonald’s which offers significantly lower quality food. This alone makes Baluchi’s worth visiting at least once. Other than price value, the food itself is great, at least on the carnivorous side of the menu.
Frantically pacing down Park Avenue, I was on a mission. I turned the corner and got to 27th street and before I could even pull out my Blackberry for the directions, I knew I had found it. That neon blue “Barbecue” sign hanging off of the building was like a north star leading me to barbecue heaven, or in other words Blue Smoke.
Upon entering the dimly lit fairly spacious restaurant, the overwhelming floor to ceiling windows allow natural light to flow into the restaurant and you are hit with a sudden sense of southern hospitality mixed with a modern metropolitan aura. The bar itself takes up half of the restaurant, with the entire back wall filled with bottles. Their alcohol selection is one of the largest, to the point where it takes up three pages on the menu, while their food options only take up one.
The Blue Smoke Burger (11.95), though simply named, could be a contender for one of the best burgers in the city. It is relatively small but makes up for it through its height. The moist and juicy beef patty, which is perfectly seasoned, is almost as good as the fresh ingredients that come with it. One bite and it leaves your taste buds mesmerized.
Their side dishes are rather impressive and could even be considered meals of their own. The French fries were the perfect balance of crispy and salty while their creamed spinach literally melts in your mouth. What really won my heart was the baked mac and cheese (7.95). Served in a deep dish, it was like a bowl of thick, delicious, melted cheese drenching the macaroni noodles.
The Kansas City Spare Ribs [half rack) 14.95(full rack) 24.95] were another story. “Big, juicy, spicy and sweet, slathered with our KC Sauce” makes them sound utterly delectable on the menu, but in real life they were quite a disappointment. The texture of the ribs was almost rubbery and made it more of a hassle to eat them rather than a pleasure. The specially advertised KC sauce was barely on the ribs at all. Luckily, they keep a variety of extra sauces on the table.
The dessert varied. Some of the amazing types were the apple crisp and the banana cream pie. The apple crisp consisted of glazed baked apples, crispy crust and topped with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream. The banana cream pie tasted incredibly fresh with banana slices and whip cream. Yet, the chocolate mousse cake was dry and grainy tasting and the key lime pie tasted too tart.
All in all if you crave a chill jazz scene with good foods and good friends, Blue Smoke is highly recommended, but ironically enough, don’t count on their barbecue.
For those who have never been to Belgium, take an afternoon and head on over to Petite Abeille. Located on 1st Ave and in the center of Stuyvesant Town, this restaurant has established a cultural dining spot for patrons to sample cuisines from Belgium.
Immediately, patrons will be at ease as they step inside and view the wide, charming space made complete by its country-side décor and bright checkered table cloths draped over the dining tables. With several chalk menus posted along the walls of the restaurant, patrons can view the weekly food and drink specials. The printed menu includes an assortment of fine dishes ranging from sweet items for breakfast such as their customer-favorite, Gaufre Chantilly, a liege waffle with strawberry sauce. To a more savory lunch selection for patrons that’s inclusive of fresh mesculin salads, classic Belgian sand-whiches, soups and stews. With a glance at the menu, patrons will be delighted and eager to try several of the Belgian dishes.
At both visits, the waiters were attentive and prompt taking our orders; however the food was not delivered to the table swiftly. With light conversations and eager appetites, patrons will be reluctant to wait for long periods of time. Shortly after, the waiters arrived with the plates of food and almost immediately every diner at the table began eating. Overall, all of our plates looked visually pleasing and colorful.
For Breakfast, ordering the Gaufre aux fraises was the right choice; it was plated and served warm topped with a nice helping of whipped cream. Additionally, the waffles were paired with a side of home-made strawberry sauce. These waffles were delicious; it had a soft, fluffy yet doughy interior which made each bite enjoyable. The sauce was overly sweet and sticky but when drizzled lightly over the dish, it really stood out and provided a tasty finish. Patrons should request for a bowl of their maple syrup, it was very bitter-sweet and complimented the waffles nicely.
For lunch, ordering the Croque Monsieur, Grilled ham and Gruyère cheese sandwich, proved to be one more grand choice. The dish was plated and served piping hot, with a side of mesculin salad and crispy Belgian fries. First, the sand-which was flavorful and memorable. Each bite was filled with gooey cheese complete with a nice crunch from the baguette. Patrons who favor a well-made grilled cheese sand-which will be overly satisfied with this savory dish. The salad portion was forgettable, flavorless and lacked fresh vegetables except for one golden ripe tomato that adorned the plate. The fries were crisp, golden- brown and salty, everything you could want from a side-dish. A larger portion would have been appreciated but overall it was a welcomed addition.
To the right of the dining room, the restaurant created a medium-sized gelato station complete with imported Italian gelato flavors, waffle cones and home-made liege waffles for to-go dessert orders. For a simple, sweet breakfast with a friend, or a simple lunch for one; try dining at Petite Abeille for a courteous restaurant experience.
I consider Japanese food a safe bet. White rice, teriyaki meat, a couple of hand rolls and miso soup; what could really mess with that? I didn’t outwardly challenge the staff of Amber Gramercy to answer that question for me, but they gave it their best shot anyway.
My group-mate David made a reservation with the seemingly chic and highly praised restaurant a week ahead of time, apparently not early enough to guarantee a table for our group of five anywhere but next to the drafty windows and conveniently behind the only entrance, where David and I would have to lean in and suck in our guts each time a new diner needed to walk through the door. Naturally, we requested a new table and were brought up to the dining room the website had promised us, a cramped but large loft illuminated only by some red spotlights on the brick walls and on the enormous Buddhist statue in the center of the back wall.
I strained my eyes and my wallet looking through the menu and found a few dishes that wouldn’t leave me without bus fare for the ride home. I was too hungry by the time my chicken teriyaki with steamed vegetables and salmon avocado roll arrived to notice that my miso soup, traditionally served as an appetizer, never made its way to the table. It did hit me, however, after a few minutes of sloppy chopstick maneuvering of the rubbery chicken on my part. Over the not-so-soothing sounds of Kenny G that were blaring from the overhead speakers, I could hear one of my group-mates notify the waitress who had finally stopped avoiding us long enough to hear our complaint.
“Oh, do you still want your soups and salads?” she asked, practically willing us to decline.
Really? Nah, that’s fine. You just keep that money, clearly our immediate questioning on the student discount made us seem like we had the extra cash to throw around for nothing. No, I didn’t say it, and I couldn’t really hear myself think it, either.
Just when our patience and time were beginning to run out, our miso soup dessert arrived. At least, I’m told it was miso. My tunnel vision in the dark dining room could easily have caused me not to notice the waitress scoop my bowl into the tiny koi pond and plop the lukewarm water on the table in front of me, but I’ll keep assuring myself that that wasn’t the case.
I offered up my credit card to cover the bill and took my group-mates’ shares in hopes of ending the experience before I realized anything else was missing from it. I gladly accepted the 10% student discount and darted for the door, the light, and some air that didn’t carry screeching clarinet tunes to my poor ears.
Oh yea, the vegetables were good.
Baruch students rarely find themselves on 3rd Avenue, unless they’re grabbing a drink at Fitzgerald’s, but next time you’re down to your last $10, you might want to consider skipping happy hour and heading across the street to Baluchi’s. The small Indian restaurant serves its entire menu at a 50% discount from 12pm to 3pm.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a classy Indian setting, Baluchi’s might not be the place for you. The half price discounts are well paired with the tacky ceiling lamps, which I imagine were bought at half price as well. If you try not to get distracted by the lamps, you can actually focus on the menu. With two categories for appetizers (Regular and Vegetarian) and five categories for entrees (Chicken, Lamb and Goat, Seafood, Vegetarian and Tandoori), there’s something for everyone.
Personally, the Samosas ($6.95), were my favorite thing on the menu. The appetizer comes with two fried dumplings filled with peas, chick peas and potatoes. It was a perfect mixture of doughy and crunchy, but I’m also partial to anything that’s fried.
I wasn’t quite as taken by the entrées. I was split between one I liked and one I hated, but I’ll start with the good news first. The Chicken Tikka Masala ($15.95) was excellent served in a tomato and cream sauce. It wasn’t too spicy, but provided just enough kick to tantalize my taste buds. The sauce doubled as a dip for the Garlic Naan I ordered on the side, which is fluffy bread seasoned with garlic. The only thing that didn’t thrill me about the dish was its size. It was considerably small compared to the entrée sizes of other Indian restaurants I’ve been to. It also didn’t come with rice, which I assumed was a given, and I had to order rice separately.
Now for the bad news. The Goan Shrimp Curry ($15.95) was a disappointment. The menu describes the dish as “cooked with sautéed onions, lime juice, spices and fresh coconut milk”. With all those exquisite ingredients, I was shocked that I couldn’t taste a single one. I’m sure there will eventually be a word to describe food that tastes like Styrofoam, but for now I’ll use the term bland. I found myself doing a lot less savoring and a lot more swallowing to get through the dish and on to dessert.
I wish I could say dessert saved the day, but alas, I was disappointed once more. The Rasmalai ($4.95) was another dish that looked great on the menu, but didn’t translate well from paper to plate. It consisted of two soft cheese patties, which were poached in a condensed milk sauce. The patties were completely flavorless and cold. In fact, the only thing I could taste was the condensed milk sauce, which was basically milk with sugar.
When the check came, I found that with the discount, I paid about $10 for a three course meal. For lunch, I’d say it was a good deal and I might go back for the Samosas and Chicken Tikka Masala, but I definitely wouldn’t go back for dinner and pay full price. $15.95 is way too pricey for entrées that tiny.
There’s several things I have come to expect at any Japanese restaurant I have the pleasure of dining at — slightly tangy miso soup, succulent sushi, and, most importantly, attentive service. At Amber, I got none out of the three.
Amber, located on 27th and 3rd, appears promising at first — seemingly two stories tall, with a bar that takes up the vast majority of the first floor, and cozy but cramped seating on the second. Even the website seems high-end: entirely in Flash, it boasts features like an online menu and online ordering, while rotating HD quality pictures of the decor and various meals that get me salivating.
However, my awe ends there.
The coupons on the website date back to last year — which would’ve been excusable (hey, maybe they just haven’t gotten around to updating?), but for being placed so prominently at the top of the page, it’s a mistake that’s difficult to overlook. The “About Us” page was full of typos, and the reviews from Yelp and MenuPages (which they also feature prominently on the site) are mixed at best. Not impressed, but I still decided to give this place a shot. It just looked so good in pictures.
As me and my group entered the restaurant (with a reservation made a week prior), the hostess took no time to seat us — right in front of the door, which would force one of us to constantly have to get up and move his chair with every person that chose to enter or exit the restaurant. We complained, and were then seated to a much more comfortable booth upstairs that would’ve been infinitely more uncomfortable if the restaurant was even slightly more packed. The music, which transitioned from Japanese elevator melodies to Katy Perry, did little to spice up the atmosphere. Frankly, given the options, I’d rather eat in silence.
The menu was fairly extensive, boasting dishes that weren’t exclusive to Japan, like pineapple fried rice, pad thai, and Indian pan friend noodles (all $7 on the lunch menu). The sushi menu was average, with classic favorites like California Roll and Shrimp Tempura ($9 on the lunch menu) but was far too expensive for the unnaturally small size and the mediocre taste of the roll. Unlike a vast majority of other Japanese cuisine I’ve come to sample, the rolls were not presented with a flower or some sort of food art alongside the plate — rather, they were placed on a glass plate as unceremoniously as the food I put in my cat’s dish.
While until then, I could give Amber a mediocre rating at best, what really drove me wild was the service (or rather, lack thereof), at this excuse for an overpriced Japanese restaurant. We had to wait a good ten to fifteen minutes for our water glasses to be refilled, and only at our constant prodding of the waitress. Also, she completely forgot about the group’s miso soups — which would’ve been excusable if the soup didn’t taste like boiled water sitting at room temperature for the last hour. We weren’t asked on our enjoyment of the meal, or if we’d like any dessert; the only time we were treated with any enthusiasm was when we received the check.
Overall, Amber is most definitely a restaurant that deserves to be overlooked, especially with hundreds of far more worthy Japanese restaurants in close proximity to Baruch College and at a much more reasonable prices with infinitely better service. All in all, two very disappointed thumbs down for this hot mess.
There are two things that I associate with Indian restaurants: An enchanting smell of spices and an overly eager host practically forcing me to eat at his restaurant. At Pongal, there were hints of both.
Pongal, one of the many Indian restaurants along Lexington Avenue between 24th and 30th street is known for its all vegetarian and kosher menu. The name refers to the harvest fest, which in South India is celebrated along with the withdrawal of the southeast monsoons. But at this Pongal, a South Indian party felt far, far away.
Pongal does have the potential to be a cozy dinner place. The stylish décor and mostly mellow Indian music, combined with the dimmed lighting, is definitely an environment that could feel good on a dark chilly evening. But at noon on a bright sunny day, the quiet and dim surrounding felt more awkward.
The good thing with Pongal is its broad menu of lunch specials. For less than 8 dollars you can get one of their many Thali’s, which are like sampling platters of many different dishes. Besides the more traditional Indian dishes of curries and vegetable-stews served with rice ($9.95), the restaurant also offers a large variety of South Indian specialties, Dosa’s and Utthappam’s ($8.45-9.45). Made of the same lentil and flour-based dough, Dosa’s are thin crepes while Uttahppam are thicker pancakes. These two are then filled or topped with a variety of vegetables.
Overwhelmed by the different Thali’s with dishes that you never heard of, I decided to ask the waiter for some help. I got a quick explanation of some of the dishes, but more than this, I was told what I should order. When I decided to go for the Mini Thali ($6.95), the waiter shaked his head. He persisted to explain why the one-dollar more expensive Pongal Thali, was the right choice for me. The part that bothered me in this act was not the price difference, but why I was refused to order an almost identical dish, but with one less item. I accept the fact that Indian’s like to talk you over to get you into their restaurant, but when it comes to my food, I want to order for myself.
The food itself did go in line with the overall ambiance of Pongal – a good try but not quite there. The first thing that crossed my mind when the Pongal Thali ($7.95) was placed in front of me was that it just looked like a big mix of differently shaped dough. And as it turned out, this was exactly what it was.
The Medu Vada, a fried doughnut, was quite tasty for the first few bites, but became boring in lack of spices other then the fried oil. Then there was the Idly, a total opposite, shaped like a white “cake” of dough that looked and tasted more like stale infant porridge. The highlight of the dish was the Dosa filled with potato and onions. It had a good bite to it, crisp and warm just like you expect a crêpe to be. The filling of potato and onion was OK, but lacked flavor. And with all the dough-y items in front of me, I could not help missing vegetables to lighten up the meal. The three sauces that came with the Thali did not either bring that Indian-kick that my taste buds kept longing for. I was left with one big question – where were the spices?
Being one of my favorite Indian dishes, I had big hopes for the Palak Paneer, cottage cheese cubes in a creamy spinach sauce ($9.95). But again, my excitement did not last. The color itself was already revealing it’s taste – instead of a fresh green color it looked more like pure cream. The cheese was good and not too soft, but combined with the overly creamy base, the dish became hard to enjoy. The brightest moment at this harvest fest was definitely the “Mango Lassi” ($4.45). This rich yogurt drink had the perfect amount of sweetness, and a smooth cooling texture. But after all that dough, I only wished it had came in a take away cup…
It is early afternoon at Baluchi’s, but the hanging lamps, masked by multi-colored shades of reds, greens, yellows, and blues, are turned on regardless, casting a radiant, warm glow on its tables and walls. Indian cuisine is hardly the first thing that comes to mind, with a name like Baluchi’s, but the restaurant serves authentic Indian fare.
For college students, eating out, especially in Manhattan, is never an activity that can be indulged in too frequently— but at Baluchi’s, worry no more. From 12 to 3 p.m. on weekdays, so long as it isn’t combined with the Thali lunch special or any other special offers, the restaurant takes a 50 percent off discount on just about everything else that is on its menu.
Baluchi’s has 12 locations, ranging from Park Slope, Brooklyn, to East Village to Queens. Clearly, the restaurant has done something right for it to thrive like it has in New York City, a hub for diverse ethnic cuisines. But whether that something is actually its food is up for debate.
For the price of $6.95, without the lunch discount, customers receive a plate of two samosas, which are vegetarian appetizers whose filling consists of potato, peas, and chickpeas. The samosas, though deep-fried, were much too greasy to sit well with my stomach. Even the scattered mix of lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, and onions that lay at the side of the samosas was a disappointment. On the whole, the appetizer left me with the impression that everything had been thrown down carelessly onto the plate, without any thought on the overall presentation and the restaurant’s customers.
Strangely, the entrees, forgettable and less than spectacular, did not include rice, which is usually, at least to my knowledge, also considered to be free-of-charge in other Indian restaurants like Delhi Heights in Queens.
Both Bhartha, a vegetarian entrée that consists of fire-roasted eggplants cooked with onions and peas, and Kerala Boatman’s Crab Curry, a supposedly spicy seafood entrée, seemed promising at first glance. In the end, however, both failed to excite my taste buds. To tell you the truth, I don’t even think I could really taste an immense difference between the two.
I think the only reason I would go back here is for its lunch discount and its close proximity to Baruch.
Hate high prices? Do you always feel like you over paid for food? Well empty your pockets and show Baluchi’s some money.
Food with spices from traditional & regional Indian cuisine can light up anyone’s taste buds. Baluchi’s, an Indian restaurant, combines both elegance and quality. Chandeliers of crimson and sapphire (exaggerating a bit) light up Baluchi’s, while the walls host several items that represent the Indian culture. While the restaurant passes the eye test, my wallet does not appreciate the price of admission to this miniature palace.
Baluchi’s has twelve locations throughout three boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. With ten locations within just Manhattan, it would be hard to find a difference between each restaurant. The Baluchi’s on 25th St. and 3rd Ave. is small but warm. The service is receptive even though one of waitresses may have got my order incorrectly if I ordered more than one entrée. The menu offers many choices such as Chicken Vindaloo, a spicy staple.
Tantalizing peppers, vinegar, and red Kashmir chilies make Vindaloo Curry. When one adds pure white meat chicken and potato with this spicy mixture, one creates Chicken Vindaloo. Compared to other Indian Restaurants, Baluchi’s Chicken Vindaloo is not very spicy. The chicken is great and the curry is thick enough to add more flavor into the meal. Even though it costs $13.95 do not expect a large portion. While it tastes very good, it cannot even fill the appetite of most people. Four chucks of chicken is not a meal!
Basmati rice and Nan are sold separately. Nan costs $2.95, which is ridiculous. You can not even get Pappad , Indian Nachos for free. For a meal that costs nearly two meals should have something on the side except water. If you’re sweating the prices then do not fret. Baluchi’s does offer a lunch special from 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM. This lunch special offers a fifty percent discount on most items. This allows one bill into a new array of options.
As a person who actually likes soup, I was excited to try soup from an Indian Restaurant. I took the Chicken soup, which costs $5.95, and I was pleasantly surprised. This creamy blend of chicken and vegetables make a great blend. It could have been spicier but beggars can’t be choosers. Speaking of begging and choosing, I beg you to not get the Chicken Malai Kabab. It can be chosen either as an appetizer or as an entrée, which is priced at $8.95 and $14.95 respectively. In my opinion Chicken Malai Kabab is now the black sheep of Indian food. How can anything Indian be so tasteless? At least there was one cucumber and one tomato in the meal. I can not have rice but I can get a cucumber and a tomato. Oh did I mention there was a carrot too. This dish does not do justice to Baluchi’s. Baluchi’s is a good restaurant with a great selection of food. There are better Indian restaurants out there, but that does not mean Baluchi’s is a bad choice.
Keep your wallet close to your stomach.