Wednesday, May 09, 2007


230 E 58th St / 3rd Ave, 212.339.0090


Cost per person: $40
"YGWYPF" factor: 8.5/10 (you get what you pay for)
Food: 8.5/10
Ambiance: 9/10

Yash and Chhordibhai (Madhumita) decided to give Soma a graduation treat at Yuva, and I got to tag along. 53rd between 2nd and 3rd is jam packed with really nice, upscale Indian places - there's this, of course, as well as Dawat, and Chola, and Ada. All in one block. Must have the highest per-square-foot consumption of Taj Mahal beer in the entire United States (assuming the cheaper, and less elite, places down on Curry Hill - Lex and 20's - have their clientele order mostly water, no ice).

This is a smaller place than Madhur Jaffrey's Dawat, but a rather cozy one. Just don't click on their website - it's a horrible mess of Flash animations, the kind that forces you to wait for animations to finish before you can click. Reservations are a must - and I'm glad to say ours was right on time, if not a little early.

This being one of the rare occasions with more than just the two of us at a table, we had a little more leeway in terms of entrees. For starters, the [Kakori Kabaab minced baby lamb flavored with fresh herbs, cardamom, mace & grilled] was really well made - soft, yet tandoored to a perfection. For entrees - [Chicken Tikka Masala roasted chicken simmered in a rich tomato cream sauce, accented with fenugreek leaves] was right as expected, and a little better than the same at most other places. The [Paneer Tikka Masala roasted paneer cheese cubes spiced in herbs & slow cooked in crushed tomato cream sauce] was exactly the same, with large cubes of paneer instead of chicken. The [Parda Biryani spiced basmati rice slow cooked in a casserole covered with dough to seal the moisture & aroma of the spices. our specialty.] was mysteriously missing the full definition - as well as the option to spike it up with seafood or goat (other options: veg, chicken or lamb) - in one of our menus. Their menu version control probably needs a looking into. The biryani was very well presented - in a clay pot sealed with a tandoori roti - and was very flavorful, though my bias still rests with Kabab King Diner. The most notable mention of our dinner was the [Chicken Kali Mirch boneless chunks of marinated chicken slow cooked with peppercorn, in a spicy onion & garlic sauce] - the innovative flavor was a very welcome change from having seen the same menu over and over at all Indian places, and definitely makes this menu stand out, if only by a little bit.


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