I've just returned from Indigo this hot weekend evening, having returned there with a friend who has also eaten here several times, the first of which involved a group of us finding this place together, by chance, while walking about the Upper West Side (Columbus Avenue from 72nd to 79th Street/American Museum of Natural History, a sort of 'restaurant row' popular in summer.)
The restaurant entrance is just a small doorway/store front, and while it looks like there are only a handful of tables there is an 'upstairs' as well; yet the whole restaurant feels 'cozy' in its diminutive size and virtually one waiter/server per table. Attentive is an understatement. A hot day in the 90's (F) to start, we ate spicy food and I had barely to set down the water when it was instantly refilled. Some may think it *too* attentive, but they never rushed us, were very polite, and as usual there were some empty tables, so no need to rush or anything... I think local and occasional New Yorkers know of this place by chance (nice location) or word of mouth, mostly. It's small. The staff here, who must see every sort of person on earth, are very eager to please, whether responding quickly (for New Yorkers!) or allowing time but being there instantly for a refill of water, bread, rice, whatever. So I've nothing negative to say about chef, service, or location. Don't come here for glitz or live music (or super-high prices), but you can find that nearby too, in NY. Any nationality. My take: this is consistent, good and authentic Indian cooking, with a family feel, well done basics, some nice flavors in the various condiments and sauces, which nicely complemented the entrees and appetizers.
I honestly don't think this place is well known even within the neighborhood (with its scores of restaurants, some big & glitzy, and many tourists in the summer), but like myself and some friends who live nearby, we will seek it out if in the mood for basic Indian cuisine, done well, and a short walk from either the subway stop, bus stop, or our front door. (They have an online takeout service too!) Low key and yet cozy, attentive. Good to great food. Modest priced (esp. for Manhattan), they serve lunch and dinner, don't know much more than I've said. A little gem nestled in the West 70's, on Columbus Avenue. (And if they're crowded or someone doesn't like Indian, well, this is in the midst of a great many restaurants of all types, so there's lots of choice, walk on!) This place has been very consistent and a favorite among several of my friends - until now, anyway, a "secret". :-) Not for glamour or 5-star international culinary awards for unique dishes, but for low-key reliable "I could go for some Indian food" in this neck of the woods it's a go-to for some very-locals for at least 3-4 years now, and really a nice walk to or from on a sunny day or at sunset over the Museum. Nice neighborhood (just north of the restaurant, if you turn right as you leave it and walk for about 5 minutes, past a park and then the Museum and the Planetarium, etc. ). And if you're a tourist or out-of-town biz person in a hotel, it's simple to get to in about 15 minutes from midtown chaos or the high prices for mediocre food in the hotels. :-) (I travel too.)
While one review I've seen expressed extreme disappointment (comparing it to British renditions?!) , I can't imagine why, truly. As my companion said (stolen for the review title), "The chef really knows what he's doing. The food is always good, consistently." If you want it hotter, milder, thinner, thicker, or 'authentic', whatever, *ask*! It's New York! They want to please.
As to this (or any) chef capturing all the subtleties of Indian cuisine generally - those seeking it probably already have an idea - Typical dishes include bhuna with yoghurt, saag (spicy spinach), breads (some puffy) like naan and pakora, Marsalas and curries. It can get spicy, very spicy if truly authentic, so if spice is an issue, with Indian cuisine always ask about the level of hot. One of my "gold standards" for assessing Indian restaurants is the saag paneer (spicy spinach with cheese) and 'lamb saag" which is sliced lamb with the spicy spinach. I must say they really do it just perfect (to my taste), having just had it there a 2nd or 3rd time. A friend enjoys dipping the Indian breads in the saag sauce, it's so pungent and yet zingy too.
Tonight we ordered two prix fixe dinners (With tax and tip it came out to $25 each). Included, in addition to that amazingly attentive service, as part of the prix fixe offerings was a main course, appetizer and choice of bread.We ordered the lamb saag and Chicken Kurma as our two main courses. I've described the lamb already (delicious!), mildly but pungently spicy, with the sauce so good we ended up dipping our mountain of breads into it. (Mm) Our appetizers were a very pungent and well-prepared grilled lamb satay. We got - of the 3 choices for bread with the price fixe dinner - a delicious onion bread and a garlic naan, fresh and crusty but chewy with a rim like just-out-of the oven pizza, or in this case coming from the tandoori oven. The Chicken Kurma was equally delicious, and completely unlike the (one) review saying the sauces were all the same (never ever our experience here!), this sauce was yellow and creamy (as opposed to deep brown, and tangy) and a completely different, equally savory flavor.
They also serve drinks (alcoholic) as well as traditional beverages like Lassi (yoghurt), various soups and salads and desserts, and entrees including various seafood, meat and vegetarian curries and Koftas, Masala, Vindaloo, and Tandoori, and many varieties of chicken dishes (with mango, Jalferezi, etc.) Like our large group the first time we found this place by chance, it's a menu that offers something for just about anyone who has a taste for Indian cuisine, generally.
The restaurant is a few blocks south of the American Museum of Natural History, and a short walk after a meal here is very pretty, especially at day's end or later (the air in NY is hot & humid during the day, most summers). It's air conditioned, tiny/cozy, open late, and always welcoming, so I thought it worthwhile to share. It might not be as elegant as some tourists or NY'ers would like (as it's a small place, simple but comfortable.) But we sat near the window and watched New York go by, in between bites and exclamations of "mm, this is tasty!". This was the first time I tried the prix fixe dinner, and was really delighted.
We left stuffed and happy that we (again) decided to head here. Never yet disappointed.
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