Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Eating Curry in Murray Hill

When I first moved to Murray Hill, I was a bit unnerved to find out that it was also sneeringly coined "Curry Hill." Living in Chelsea, my family and I would often walk over to get our sushi and Indian food fixes (...it was a very different neighborhood even a decade ago). But now that I have been here for more than 2 years, I have come to crave naan and different colored curries on a very regular basis. I honestly can't believe it's taken me this long to write a post about Indian food! I am still actively exploring my neighborhood, but here are some favorite picks for now. 

Curry in a Hurry should be a landmark. During the 2010 blizzard when Bloomberg was on a tropical island and no one shoveled the streets of New York, Curry in a Hurry was the only restaurant in the area opened bright and early for business. Now that is dedication to your work. It occupies the corner of 28th and Lex, and has a flashing red neon sign protruding from an electric blue exterior. At its front window, you can always watch an old man skillfully toss fresh naan into the oven, and one step into the door you are greeted with an ample cafeteria style hot holding curry display. Upstairs, there is a seating area with vested servers and pitchers of water. You simply order your food downstairs, someone will bring it up for you, and you pay after you eat. 

I always order the chicken tikka masala (England's national dish), spinach paneer (cottage cheese), lamb curry, Basmati rice, and lots of garlic naan. Sometimes if I'm extra hungry, I also go for the vegetable pakora or the gobi paratha (cauliflower stuffed bread). And finally, I always love ending the meal with a small bowl of kheer (sweet rice pudding). 

(Sorry, everything looked too delicious to spare any time
to take pre-meal photos.)

Curry in  a Hurry
119 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY

This place is my new favorite discovery in my neighborhood. It's a really small place, and it looks rather dingy, but it always has a bunch of brown people standing around the entrance. That's how you know it must be good. I went there last Thursday with my grandmother, and we ordered from the display case before taking a seat. There aren't descriptions, and the people behind the case weren't trying to be too helpful, but I figured out enough to know what I was getting. 

I pointed at this flat round ground chicken patty that I would definitely get again. It was heavily spiced and surprisingly delicious. I also got a spinach dish that instead of the usual paneer had the most succulent lamb meat. There was also a great pea curry and the most heavenly aromatic chicken biryani, basmati rice steamed with saffron and other spices and herbs. It was so good I considered taking an order to go with me back to Boston. And finally, we got the necessary garlic naan, which was packed with garlic and not excessively oily. This, like most Indian places, is a vegetarian's paradise. 

Though this place has top notch Indian food and is not as oily or creamy packed as most, they reheat all their dishes with a microwave before serving. Therefore I would recommend ordering to-go and reheating at home at your own pace (My mother refuses to have a microwave at home). Also, sitting there will make all your clothes smell thoroughly like garlic, onion, and spices.

Lahori Kabab
124 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY

And finally, I must introduce to you this neighborhood gem. Kalustyan's is a camouflaged spice market embedded amongst its fellow competitors. But really, it is perhaps the most expansive and carries the most varied and bountiful selections of spices from around the world. I was thoroughly impressed by the amount of spices that the store held as well as all the sauces, grains, and other dried goods. 

I must go back because their second floor has an Indian deli section (harhar) with hot and cold foods by the pound. Can't wait to check it out and come back here for my impending Indian feast! 

Photo from seriouseats.com

123 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY

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