No. Not really. I'm in New York City this week for a conference on cloud computing, which has nothing to do with Indian food, or food for that matter. Well, one could argue, but...let's move on.
I'm staying with my good friend Michelle, who has a deep appreciation for Indian food. So, last night we made our way to Shaan, at .
Michelle was intent on trying Shaan because before it opened two weeks ago, another Indian restaurant she loved - Baluchi's - was at that location. She was a regular enough customer at Baluchi's that she's traumatized they didn't personally tell her they were leaving. As in, a phone call or an invitation to the restaurant to break the news.
We walked into Shaan and the space and smell reminded me of many Indian restaurants in New York. The restaurant is long and narrow and a rush of spices hits you as you walk into the door. Well, it hits me. Michelle swears it didn't hit her. I find that hard to believe.
The decor is spare, which is perfect. I read a review describing the decor as "Temple of Doomish", but I disagree. The lighting is soft and there is not a lot distracting you from the food. It's peaceful.
I was craving samosa so I knew I had to get that. Shaan has a samosa trio: one with lentils, one with spinach and cheese, and one with potatoes and peas. For my main course, I had chicken methi. Methi are fenugreek leaves, which are -- I'll just say it -- mind-blowing. The flavor is intense, the aroma intoxicating. My mother makes fish methi. There have been numerous occasions when my brother and I looked dumb-founded with pleasure after eating my mom's fish methi.
The samosas came out piping hot so I had to wait for a bit before I could eat them. The spinach and potato samosas were great, but the lentil samosa was greasy.
As for the chicken methi, all I can say is you have to try it. It's fantastic. We ordered naan with our meals and I got the keema naan, which is lamb. Initially I thought there was not enough lamb in the naan, but was quite happy with it at the end of my meal. I dipped the naan into the chicken methi, which I recommend you do. Well, just dip naan into any curry and you will be happy.
The whole meal was satisfying, to say the least. There was no room for dessert. Bhushan Arora was overseeing the restaurant last night and brought out an order of gulab jammun, that gorgeous, sugary, saffron-infused, fried, dumpling-dessert that never disappoints.
With my meal I drank the house sauvignon blanc, which is my drink of choice these days.
On our walk home, Michelle would see Indian people and asked if I knew them. Initially surprised, I would do a double take. I must know a few of the billion, yes?
The Restaurant of India
224 E 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022