30 West 52nd Street.
City: New York, NY
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Area: West 50s
To some New Yorkers, there's only one place for Indian food – and that's East Sixth Street. But wonderful (if admittedly more expensive) Indian eateries abound all over town, and few are more consistently fine than midtown's Bombay Palace. The restaurant is aptly named, being a particularly elegant spot -- dominated by a large chandelier and an enormous fish tank -- and because it specializes in food from India's most famous city. As soon as you sit down, order a bowl of the addictive Bhel Puri, a cool, flavorful mixture of rice crisps, lentil vermicelli and chutney. To get a good feel for what the kitchen can do, move on to the assorted platter, an appetizer sampler featuring vegetable pakoras, samosas, tandoori chicken and seekh kebab. The entrée list is a bit overwhelming, so give yourself plenty of time to peruse and decide. I can promise that masala – a tasty sauce of ginger, garlic, tomato and other spices – makes a fine covering for chunks of succulent lobster or a trio of perfectly cooked lamb chops. And you'll reconsider every bad thought you've ever had about chicken once you sample the noorani kabab, a chicken breast made unusually tender and delicious by a marinade of yogurt and spices, and then finished in the traditional clay oven. Vegeterians love Indian restaurants, and it's easy to see why. No mushy peas here! The palak paneer, an intensely rich (and intensely green) mixture of spinach and homemade cheese, is quite satisfying. So is a dish of fresh okra simmered with onions and tomatoes. You can even make a meal out of the Indian breads, such as the flavorful garlic kulcha. While desserts are only for those who can handle dairy products, everyone can finish the meal with a soothing cup of Masala tea. Salaam Bombay, indeed.
Review By: Brian Scott Lipton