Bali Nusa Indah
651 Ninth Ave (bet. 45th & 46th Sts)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 265-2200
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Area: West 40s
On a what was a hellish night, at the height of superstorm Sandy, I found myself in search of a restaurant on what is normally a bustling Ninth Avenue in Hell's Kitchen. Only this time it was a virtual ghost town. 5 Napkin Burger... closed. Esca... closed. Marsailles... closed. But, then I spotted a glimmer of a light eminating from a storefront. It was Bali. Immediately the name evoked images of beach scenes and calm, something in great demand this evening.
The place itself is rather non-descript with rows of tables with blue checkerboard tableclothes more fitting for a picnic than an Indonesian restaurant. The only giveaway were intricate wood carvings perched high above the tables. Here you can order al a carte or a meal chosen by the house. I opted for the latter and was glad I did.
The meal began with Soto Madura, a soup made with chicken and glass noodles in a rich gingery broth. It's homey and comforting, and perfect for a chilly night. Then came the main course, a pupu platter of sorts, with several dishes surrounding a mound of rice. There was barbecued chicken satay fresh off the grill coated with an addictive peanut sauce. As a grabbed a spoon of rice, I stumbled upon some Rendang, fork-tender chunks of beef smothered in a coconut-chili sauce. The heat from the chili offset by a batch of pickled carrots stationed nearby. That brings us to the Perkedel Jagung, a deep fried fritter, that is crisp around the edges. It is stuffed with baby shrimps and corn. I could easily have eaten two. Next up, string beans in a pink curry sauce, and deep-fried baby fish in a peanut and chili sauce which turned out to be my least favorite. But who's compllaining. The entire meal cost just over 23 bucks, beer included (Singha of course).
For dessert, something called Banana Island, a deep-fried banana crepe served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzled with caramel sauce. Yum Yum. Oh wait, that's the place across the street.
Review By: Thomas Rafael