Thank God for pistachio, cardamom and chillies. Thank God for the waiter getting the order wrong. And thank God for Halloween.
And I suppose I should say thank God for laughter too because this is all we could do. This is all a curry snob can do when they decide to listen to reviews.
We, the 2L’s, found ourselves in the heart of Curry Hill on Lexington Ave, in a restaurant called Dhaba. A pretty decent looking place, cosy in size and of course with tons of great reviews.
After a bit of indecisiveness we eventually ordered up the same. 2 vegetable samosas, 2 shrimp curries, 1 tadka dal, 1 rice portion and 1 garlic naan. And intuitively, 2 masala teas too.
Now if you were born and raised in Durban like we were, you’ll know that curry and rice is standard fare. Eating and cooking curry is a ritual that goes back at least 3 generations in our family.
So the general expectation is that if you are going to do Indian eat out/take out it better be good. Damn good. It’s pointless getting a curry that tastes worse than your own. Isn’t it?
Now I suppose we should have known something was up when we asked for the wi-fi password and were firstly ignored and then later told no.
A few more questions and requests to the waiters and we realised we were facing a zombie infiltration. Blank stares and unintelligible sounds coming out of their mouths. Early Halloween perhaps?
The samosas came and went, bleh.
When the rest of the food arrived we immediately realised that we were 1 shrimp curry short. Given the zombie situation we decided on silence. And a good thing at that.
L1 dipped straight into the garlic naan and shrimp curry. L2, attacked the rice and tadka dal. The look on L1’s face told L2 something was desperately wrong. Quick switch.
L2 summons the zombie. Now if L2, the quieter of the 2L’s, calls on the zombie then something must be seriously wrong.
Zombie 1 arrives with a resulting apocalyptic breakdown in communication. Cue to the arrival of zombie 2. The removal of the bowl of shrimp curry a vague indication that some form of understanding was reached.
To put it simply the shrimp curry was not really a curry. Not in our world anyways. It was bland, bland and blander. No spice, no flavour, no heat . Temperature wise or spice wise.
L2 sent it back because it was luke warm and asked for some chillies to be added.
Well, it came back, as watered down as ever with another small bowl of whole green chillies. A first for us. I mean, just imagine sitting at a restaurant table and chopping up your own green chillies to add to the curry.
The chillies helped make a shitty shrimp curry less shitty but still shitty, if you know what I mean. And where the shrimp curry was tasteless, the garlic naan was too tasty. As in the garlic overpowered everything else.
Perhaps sensing our displeasure the manager arrived with two complimentary desserts. Rasmalai which is cheese balls in reduced sweet milk and pistachios and the other, Tawle Ka Gulab Jamun, fried milk balls in cardamom flavoured sugar syrup.
The Rasmalai was really good but not good enough to save the entire meal. When you’re a curry snob and you’re chasing the flavor of a curry you can call damn good, the extras don’t count.
Now usually we would not do reviews .We would simply not return. But let’s just say for Halloween sake here is our first restaurant review:
Above par :
- Masala tea
- Tadka dal
- Shrimp curry
- Garlic naan
Being the snobs that we are, we should have just taken the 50 dollars, bought all the ingredients PLUS a bottle of wine, gone home and cooked up a storm a la Floyd.
Curry snob tip: In Manhattan, go fine dining for Indian especially if you are familiar with Indian food.