489 Columbus Ave (83rd & 84th St)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 875-1400
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Area: West 80s
Take a break from typical Indian restaurant decor with heavy red color schemes and eye-blink inducing adornments and stop in at Savoury, a new spot on the UWS. Chef/owner Lala Sharma—formerly of the celeb-frequented Surya in the West Village (now closed) and Bukhara in New Delhi, considered one of the world’s top restaurants—and his son Abishek Sharma have made a sleek, modern space to enjoy a somewhat lighter, healthier spin on Indian food. The restaurant, that has a front lounge, large dining room and private space for party rentals, is almost too bland but the warmth of the staff more than offsets that.
Food is very fresh-tasting and many offerings, like the Biryani dishes are far less oily than some versions. The Delhi Papri Chaat starter is wetter than the usual variety with a toss of crispy and a terrific taste of tamarind. The crab cakes served with mint chutney
are another good appetizer choice as is the lasuni gobi, crispy cauliflower in a bright garlic/tomato sauce.
Entrees offer dishes based on lamb or goat; chicken and fish including Goan Fish Curry with salmon cooked with mustard seed, coconut, onion, tomato, and tamarind sauce. Dishes with shrimp and halibut are also on the menu. Lamb Rogan Josh brings tender meat in caramelized onion with saffron and cardamom or diners can enjoy super-spicy lamb vindaloo or the peppery kick of lamb Chettinad and don't forget about succulent baby lamb chops, a fave from the Surya days. The tandoor oven yields chicken, lamb, salmon and other delights; chicken lovers will also enjoy the butter chicken that starts in the tandoor and is finished with a creamy tomato sauce. The Biryani can be ordered with any of the meats or with veggies only, enlivened with Indian spices. Vegetarians always do well with Indian cuisine and Savoury is no exception. The northern specialty of Chana Masala brings chickpeas in a silky sauce of tomatoes and onions; the spiced okra sautéed with tomato, onion, garlic, and kokum, a not -often tasted Indian fruit that lends a sweet/sour twist.
Breads are fabulous, especially the rosemary nan and the puffed poori that deflates when poked (use a utensil as it's hot inside) and makes a great vehicle to mop up gravy, raita and well-spiced mango chutney with.
I generally find Indian desserts other than kulfi, the Indian "ice cream" served here in either pistachio or mango flavors less than the high point of the meal but do give the home made fig ice cream a shot--it's laden with tiny fig bits and a great ending.
The restaurant's liquor license is pending but, when it comes through, beers, red and white wines and cocktails like the Tajmapolitan, with Absolut Kurant, Chambord, fresh lime and cranberry juices and freshly grated cinnamon will be available.
Service is smiling and helpful if a diner has a menu question. Overall, Savoury is a welcome addition to a neighborhood filled with food-loving folks. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and those who refuse to set food outside but crave a good Indian meal can order for delivery.
Review By: Mari Gold