I usually just go along with what everyone suggests for business type coworker lunches (which are very, very rare in my world) because I'm very grin and bear it (I hate that phrase and have used it enough as a joke that it's starting to permeate my normal conversation) in the workplace. But this time I was saddled with choosing the restaurant, wasn't in the best of spirits, so wanted to make sure I got to eat something I actually wanted. (I really didn't care if no one else wanted Indian food, because I wasn't about to slough through an overpriced chicken caesar salad with dressing on the side.) I'd intended on trying Yuva for dinner for a few weeks, but because it's only three blocks from the office it never made sense for anyone to come up to midtown just to meet me for an evening meal.
Normally, I wouldn't dip into the teens for lunch, but since it wasn't coming out of my pocket the prices seemed reasonable. The quality and presentation was much higher than you'd expect from a run of the mill midtown Indian place. The decor is subtle and leaning towards neutral.
I wish I'd had my camera (though I would've been reluctant to whip it out in front of my new-ish boss and colleague) because the nine three-by-three chutneys and sauces that were brought out on a square platter, were amazingly hued. Brilliant greens, sunshiney oranges, raisin browns, and flavored with green peppers, mangos, mint, yogurt, and obviously more. I felt bad not being able to try them all. Work lunches are never really about enjoying the food, are they?
I chose the chicken tikka masala, which comes with a bowl of rice and dal, each in small round white bowls that are more like coffee cups without handles. They were set atop individual square plates, which rested on a larger square plate like the chutneys had been. The clean geometry and pale monochrome tones elevated the food. It's likely you'd detect a higher degree of care by taste alone, but the impression gained from a meal served on ceramic rather than in Styrofoam is obviously higher. Getting take out, which you can here, might feel different.
You're given a choice of soup or salad, but being ladies we all chose the salad. I was curious what the soup was. We were also given grilled yogurt chicken wings and onion kulcha on the house. What I think was kheer, a cardamom laced rice pudding, came unexpectedly at the end. It was a bit much for an afternoon workday meal. The funny thing is that one of the coworkers in attendance, happens to live up the street, and ended up bringing her girlfriend to Yuva later that day for dinner Eating two meals at the same restaurant, hours apart, by choice is pretty indicative of its allure.
Yuva * 230 E. 58th St., New York, NY