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Posts from the ‘Indian/Pakistani’ Category


1/2 If Food Republic, a glorified food court, nearly made me crap myself with glee, then StraitsKitchen…um, I don’t like where this metaphor is going. Let’s just say that it is the most awesome buffet in the universe. Eating in malls and hotels isn’t shameful in Singapore and I must admit that the Hyatt knows what they’re doing. In Beijing, we tried Made in China, a similar concept that served Northern Chinese dishes. StraitsKitchen also brings local fare under one roof, and presents everything slickly yet with remarkable authenticity.

Straits kitchen interior

Different styles of food, including Indian, Malay, soups, Chinese roasted meats and chicken rice, desserts, tropical fruits and juices, and more, were featured at individual stations.

I only regret that 9pm reservations were the only time we could finagle same day. They have two seatings and the first was fully booked. The problem being that we eat way too slow and leisurely to cram enough food into an hour and a half. I felt half-frantic the whole time, wanting to sample as many things as possible without filling up (after my super power fantasy of being able to speak and understand all languages in the world, my number one grotesque desire would be to eat and never get full or absorb the calories). Just because I like to order lots of food doesn’t mean I can actually eat it all.

Straits kitchen popiah
My first interaction pissed me off but I quickly got over it. I walked up to the popiah station where the guy spreads out the crepe batter and makes the roll custom for you from scratch and as I was waiting a clueless Australian woman walked up and asked a million questions about what these were, then decided she wanted one so he started making ours at the same time. But then she made a fuss about not eating shrimp and not liking spice and next thing I knew he had made our two rolls exactly the same. Not all white women hate shrimp and chiles. The New Yorker in me would’ve made him re-make mine but I’m not a total bitch, and time was wasting. Instead, I brought it back to the table, sulked and unhappily picked at the half-assed popiah not made my way.

Straits kitchen chicken rice

No time for tears, though. I moved on quickly to Hainanese chicken rice. I couldn’t fill up on all that rice, nice and chicken brothy as it was. I didn’t think I was going to have time to fit in this Singaporean classic during my week in town so I was happy for this quickie.

Straits kitchen indian food

James picked out some Indian food for us to share. That’s fish head curry on the left and I think tandoori chicken, biryani and something orange on the right. Bok choy and char kway teow are hiding in the background.

Straits kitchen malay food

Malay, my favorite. James is not so crazy about the belachan-based cuisine but I can’t get enough of the strong flavors. One of the things I appreciated about this restaurant was not dumbing down or simplifying and the offering of appropriate condiments. This plate includes beef rendang, sayur lodeh (vegetables in coconut curry), kari ayam (chicken curry) and sambal prawn.

Straits kitchen malay station

The Malay station, conveniently located closest to our table, had those tiny olive-sized limes, numerous sambals, a pineapple-cucumber achar, and more that I’m forgetting. I think that wooden bucket that looks to be filled with rocks actually contains buah keluak, a toxic nut used in Peranakan cooking. Yep, definitely going for authenticity and atmospherics.

Straits kitchen chile crab and satay

Moving on to Singapore with chile crab and the necessary fried mantou. Also, a few sticks of satay.

Straits kitchen laksa

My capacity was dwindling but James brought over a bowl of super lemak laksa and I couldn’t let it go uneaten. I think he went a little wild with the garnishes.

Straits kitchen sweets

A melting pot of desserts. I’m a freak who doesn’t like fruit even fresh beautiful tropical fruit, so just the foreign sweets for me. I had a hard time narrowing it down to just these five. Clockwise from far left: Indonesian lapis legit, Nonya ang koo, Hong Kong egg tart, Nonya kueh dadar (my favorite—I love the color green and hate that any American dessert that color is minty. I prefer my green goodies flavored with pandan) and Chinese peanut pancake.

StraitsKitchen * Grand Hyatt, 10 Scotts Rd., Singapore


It’s not that I’m forced into eating at chains on my occasional New Jersey shopping forays, it’s that I like eating at chains when I leave the city. That’s why when posed with the premise “let’s try a nice suburban restaurant this weekend,” I became stumped.

Obviously, nice is subjective. I think it means sit-down, non-diner/take-out, not necessarily expensive. New Jersey certainly has edible diversity as written about recently in the New York Times, but deep-fried hotdogs and subs weren’t what we were discussing. Technically, Blue Hill at Stone Barns is a nice suburban restaurant but I don’t know any other places of that caliber in an hour and a half radius (I’m open to suggestions). I hate Italian-American food and anything even veering into continental territory, that’s the stuff I fear getting roped into.

Newark Portuguese sounded fun and I’ve always felt remiss in never trying any of the Ironbound offerings. But we like shopping in Edison and have never sampled any of the gazillion Indian restaurants in nearby South Plainfield, either. As usual, Asian won out and I picked Moksha, South Indian but not vegetarian. And I didn’t quite adhere to the non-chain criteria either, as the owners have a mini-empire in the area.

First, we were forced into an unexpected detour to East Brunswick and were almost swayed by the Bonefish Grill. I had a shopping list that could only be satisfied by the giant Hong Kong Supermarket in South Plainfield. If you’re accustomed to the little ratty ones in Manhattan, Brooklyn or Queens, it would bring a tear to your eye. They’re not even super clean or full of hyper fresh produce, they’re just spacious with shopping-cart friendly aisles, non-chaotic fish counter and tons of variety you can actually browse without being body checked by elderly Chinese ladies.


Well, it turned out that our favorite HK Supermarket location has given up the ghost (that phrase weirds me out, I never use it, and I’ve seen it countless times in 2008 so I will jump on the bandwagon). Damn them, and it was kind of fitting since the way we originally stumbled upon the grocery store was looking for a non-urban Goodwill that was supposed to be in the same strip mall but had gone kaput and has turned into an Big Lots, which I didn’t have time to explore because we had to track down the next nearest HK Supermarket in East Brunswick.

An old Vietnam vet from Princeton that was in a Thai cooking class I took in the early ‘00s was raving about the huge HK Supermarket in East Brunswick and I recalled Lloyd’s wise words while fiddling with Google Maps via Blackberry.

As it turned out, East Brunswick was no South Plainfield and the best of the Chinese chain is gone for good. I still got what I needed, though: Thai basil, chiles, clams, rau ram (which I never see in Brooklyn), palm sugar, fried shallots, rice vinegar, pork belly, preserved radish, spicy bamboo shoots and bean curd.

But yes, nice suburban restaurants. I suppose Moksha is a little fancy in that the décor feels upscale Pier 1 rather than Christmas light garish, all earth tones, natural materials, and subtle water features, Oh, and things like rice, naan and chutneys come with a surcharge. Like how no free chips and salsa signals Mexican food to be taken seriously (not that it necessarily tastes better). I didn’t take any non-food photos, though.


A chicharon-like puff instead of the typical papadum. I don’t know if this is a traditional snack or made up. It’s kind of like pani poori but not really. There were spices imbedded in the white crackly blob and I’m certain that it was meatless.


Onion bhajis and chile fritters, a.k.a. Indian jalapeno poppers, were kind of run of the mill, but definitely not heavy or too greasy. I meant to order a another more salad-y appetizer but forgot.


Ok, all of the entrees look the same on the surface, but the flavors were all distinct, quite hot and if you scrutinized the bowls, you would notice that the murky shades hinted at green, brown and orange. I originally ordered a whole fried fish that they were out of, which is what forced me into a second-choice of shrimp, causing a curry overload.

Bottom: Karuvaepillai Eral Masala. This shrimp masala was the herbiest, the green likely came from curry leaves and almost seemed Thai in comparison to the others. The spice didn’t catch you until you’d chewed half a mouthful and burning ensued with full force.

Top: Iguru Mamsam. Minus the meat, lamb hot pot almost seemed Cajun, super dense, cuminy, hot and oil-slicked but tangy from chopped tomato.


Guthi Vonkaiya Koora. The tiny mushy eggplants were said to come with sesame seeds. I didn’t see any seeds, so I wonder if they were pulverized into the sauce.

There’s definitely more exploring to be done in South Plainfield’s Indian hub and I’ll make it to Newark eventually. However, I’m still kind of curious about better than average, even mildly creative American food that’s not a Kitchen Nightmare waiting to happen.

Moksha * 1655 Oak Tree Rd., Edison, NJ


This is that birthday time of the year for me. There’s like a two-week period late March/early April when it feels like everyone’s getting a year older (and I can relax knowing I still have a few months ahead of me). Luckily, I only have to worry about special occasion dining for one of the celebrants. You can’t ignore your significant other special occasion dining duty. I never know what I’m going to get, some years it’s more of a blow out than others. 2006 I was taken out to Cookshop, a place I never would’ve picked on my own yet thoroughly enjoyed.

I rarely go for trendy (though whatever year it was that Spice Market opened I did choose it) so Morandi or Waverly Inn were wildly out of the question. Then there’s the stodge issue, Eleven Madison Park and The Modern have been hovering in mind for a while but the time never seems right for them. There are also an infinite number of likeable standards that I doubt I’ll ever get around to, from the Le Bernardins and Daniels to the Union Square Cafes and Crafts of the city. It’s too bad the reviews have been so mixed for Gordon Ramsey at the London because that’s one restaurant I was initially interested in for a splurge.

Instead, I went kind of random and picked Devi. Pretty and creative, though not over the top or ostentatious. I don’t dabble in haute Indian so it was refreshing in that regard. I’d been avoiding it because my former supervisor loved it and I couldn’t imagine how my tastes might overlap with a plastic surgerized, middle aged Jewish woman from suburban New Jersey. But we all have to let go at some point.

First, we stopped into nearby Flatiron Lounge. Just as the thought of Morandi gives me shivers, I have been shunning Death & Co. like, well Death, I guess. My one and only visit to Pegu Club predictably irked me, though I do love the concept of all these newfangled gin joints.

Flatiron_lounge_jack_rose Flatiron_lounge_jamaican_firefly

I started with a Jack Rose (applejack, grenadine and lime juice), then segued into a Jamaican Firefly (rum, ginger beer, lime juice), essentially a dark and stormy. It looks like James’s drink in the background is the same in both photos but it’s two pale colored cocktails, a corpse reviver #2 (gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc and lemon juice) and something made with pisco.

Devi_interiorAs we were escorted upstairs at Devi to a completely stand alone, enormously square table for two nowhere near any other diners in the room, I thought “this is a table.” No squeezing or sliding, nothing communal or stifling about it. You could wave your hands or kick about in any direction and not bump a soul. Space is relaxing as long as there’s not too much formality attached to the luxury. I’m still not sold on bar seating, as much as it’s hyped.

Continuing the cocktail theme, I had a Mumbai Margarita with silver tequila, elderflower, mango juice and cayenne powder. I would’ve kept up my mid-week drinking binge—I’m all for wine pairings with tasting menus, but James has less tolerance for alcohol, wine in particular, and it was his birthday dinner, after all. Halfway through the courses I had a glass of random Riesling. I didn’t see a wine list and I didn’t bother to ask (I was a little hesitant after James asked our waitress where the restaurant got its lime leaves for his twist on a gin & tonic made with cilantro. She got kind of flustered. He was just making small talk, which isn’t either or our fortes. Then she disappeared in the middle of our meal and camped out with a cell phone on a box or a stool in this pitch black storage area in the very back of the second floor. I only noticed because even though she was hidden in the dark, she was in directly in my line of vision. I could make out a white napkin that she seemed to be pressing to her face. There was definitely crying and quiet fighting going on but not in English so I couldn’t eavesdrop. We had a male waiter for the remaining part of our dinner).

You could make a perfectly respectable meal from a few dishes and a bottle of Kingfisher beer, but if I’ve never been to a restaurant I like to (though both times I’ve been to Ureña—James’s birthday dinner last year–we ordered a la carte) sample as many things as possible. At $60, the tasting menu is fairly priced. It’s not high luxury or fusion Indian either. There’s a good deal of tradition at work, with the addition of atypical ingredients and very layered flavors and spices. Possibly the most punch per square inch of food I’ve experienced in a while.

Let’s see how much I can recall from the procession (with the aid of their website, of course). This is where words will fail me and why the hardcore write tasting notes on the spot. I find playing with a camera distracting enough, juggling a notepad is too much for a recreational meal.

While this looks like falafel, I know that it is not. I guess I wasn’t amused because I can’t remember what it was.

Calcutta Jhaal Muri
rice puffs, red onions, chickpeas, green chilies, mustard oil, lemon juice

This was a crunchy mishmash like a chickpea fritter rolled in rice krispies. I think I know this blob better by the name bhelpuri, though that seems to be listed elsewhere on their menu.

Salmon Crab Cake
tomato chutney mayonnaise

After spending a chunk of time in Baltimore, James always picks crab cakes. We rarely share food and most definitely do not feed each other. Therefore, I didn’t taste these.


These stuffed breads (kulcha, I suspect) showed up after the first few dishes. I was torn between not wanting to ruin my appetite and wanting to eat warm cheese and spinach filled dough. Not surprisingly, by the close of our meal my half had been decimated.

Tandoori Quail
spicy fig chutney

I always forget how tiny quail is, yet I often order it if I see it. I was swayed by the fig component. The bed of fruity mash (that you can’t see in this picture) contained little gritty bits, just like a Fig Newton. That freaked me out as a child, but I’m OK with it now.

Hmm, James had the grilled scallops with roasted red pepper chutney, Manchurian cauliflower and spicy bitter-orange marmalade instead of the mini game bird but I seem to have missed my photo op.

Veal Liver & Brain Bruschetta
veal with quail egg and green chilies, liver with cinnamon, tomatoes and onions

I knew we’d split on this course. I’m like baby animals and gray matter? Bring it on. The liver was much more distinctly organ meaty than the brains, which were tempered by the little fried egg. More teeny quail product. I don’t know what James’s fish of the day was (no photo because it was even worse than the ones I've deemed fit for publishing).

Tandoori Prawn
eggplant pickle, crispy okra

The side pile was almost like a salad made of shoestring fries, using dried wisps of okra instead.

Tandoor-Grilled Lamb Chop
sweet & sour pear chutney, spiced potatoes

I wasn’t going for a bone poking you in the eye effect—I just seem to have zero mastery over my camera. I can’t not take photos but these moody, low light meals really don’t lend themselves to flashless photography. This dish exemplified the simple seeming yet million flavors at once approach. The meat was mild and creamy from the yogurt, the potatoes were hot, punchy, soft; the chutney crisp and bright.

Emperor's Morsel (Shahi Tukra)
crispy saffron bread pudding, cardamom cream, candied almonds

How do you turn down something called emperor’s morsel? I had the warm cardamom flavored bread pudding and James had pistachio kulfi. He was annoyed because he’d just had pistachio gelato at Bouchon the week before. I was like those are so not the same, plus I was sitting home bored in Brooklyn while he was in Napa Valley (not on some foodie pilgrimage–his sister lives in Santa Cruz and it was a family obligation) so I had zero sympathy. He could’ve just ordered the same as I did but has a thing against food duplication.

Pistachio Kulfi
Indian ice cream, candied pistachio, citrus soup

Devi * 8 E. 18th St., New York, NY

Royal Indian Oasis

*as per comments below, Royal Indian Oasis has kicked the bucket. (3/25/08)

I have no idea when Indian Oasis added Royal to their name because it’s not like I get out to subway-less Queens so often and it’s not the kind of breaking news bloggers go nuts over. The décor, prices and “Close Tuesday” misuse on the takeout menu are all the same as my last visit nearly two years ago but I imagine the Royal addition would be new management flair.

Indian_oasis_kung_pao_potatoes All I really need to say is that kung pao potatoes are a peerless fusion treat. Neither forced nor fussy, this genius Indian-Chinese invention (Taj Mahal? Great Wall of China? Feh) plays to both cuisines’ strengths without getting silly. (And no, kung pao isn’t completely made up American but it might go by gong bao ji ding in China). When fresh from the kitchen, the potatoes are sweet, slightly crisp and genuinely spicy. Crunchy water chestnut slices and peanuts add texture. Potatoes seem made for this combination. Halved dried chiles coupled with fresh diagonally sliced green ones, generate a heat that surrounds your tongue and sticks around for a good ten minutes.

Indian_oasis_drums_of_heaven We also had sliced lamb chilli, Hakka style, which was a strong choice–same for the lollipop chicken called drums of heaven (left). The Hakka noodles weren't anything special. There’s nothing mediocre about Royal Indian Oasis. The food is a shade better than both Tangra Masalas and they don’t go completely overboard with the corn starch thickeners.

I do worry that they aren’t drawing enough customers. There was only one other couple when we came in and only one small group appeared before we left. Perhaps 9:30pm isn’t prime dining time in suburban Queens, but the sushi place with Bennihanna table side cooking, a few doors over, was hopping.

Royal Indian Oasis * 184-22 Horace Harding Expressway, Fresh Meadows, NY


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

Tangra Masala

It appears that this Indian-Chinese thing is getting big. At least big enough to spawn a garish sprawling second location for Tangra Masala. I believe that the mirrors, columns, shelves of tchotchkes (Indian and Middle American—baby figurines in the bathroom?) and bonnet (yes, bonnet—theres a random straw hat with flowers hanging on the wall) only add to the experience. And the experience is still a little haphazard. Thankfully, I'd had a few drinks before dinner or else I mightve been miffed by the super slow service (a very large party of Indian folks at the long table next to us were still waiting for their food when we left and they were already seated when we came in). Everyone was pleasant, and everything eventually came, they just didnt seem prepared for the Saturday night rush.

We shared lollypop chicken and shrimp fritters for appetizers. The non meat eater had paneer-filled spring rolls. The sweet vinegary green chile dip that came with the fried items wouldve made anything taste good, but the stood on their own. Manchurian chicken and salt and pepper shrimp were my choices. I cant speak to tofu Manchurian, which wasnt my pick, or the pad thai beef (uh, neither Indian nor Chinese) which most definitely wasnt my doing. I hardly ever dine out with friends so I didnt want to make a stink over weirdo ordering, especially since one is a vegetarian and the other shuns spice for fear of bowel trauma (and you wonder why I rarely dine in their company?)
Tangra Masala * 39-23 Queens Blvd., Sunnyside, NYAzteca * ? Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY

Banana Leaf Apolo

Who knew that a humble fish head could be so tasty? I inadvertently bypassed Little India on my last visit to Singapore, so fish head curry was a must on this trip even though I wasnt super excited in comparison to other classic local dishes like chile crab. I wanted to have at least one banana leaf meal (where the rectangular frond serves as placemat and plate). Maybe hands-as-utensils is tradition, but everyone seemed to be using spoons and forks. And I'm not one to buck a trend.

s usual, we over ordered. Partly because everything sounded so good and partly because its hard to gauge portions. Here, I usually know what to expect and choose accordingly (its usually going to be big). We had a chicken biryani, which came with two vegetable sides, one a daal concoction, the other spiced tomato-y green beans. That, with naan and the small fish head (small wasnt that small) wouldve been plenty. But we also ordered a vindaloo just to see how its done in Singapore.

The fish head curry was much hotter than the vindaloo, and came in a broth dotted with okra or lady's fingers, as they call them. For some reason I'd envisioned the curry as being more chili-sweet, not chili-sour and unexpectedly bracing. The extra hot spice combination and soupy quality reminded me of Thai yellow curries more than typical Indian food (which isnt surprising since yellow curry paste uses dried spices typical to Indian food where most Thai curry pastes use fresh herbs) Fish head curry is really a Singaporean-Indian invention so the mish-mash comes with the territory.

Banana Leaf Apolo * 54-58 Race Course Rd., Singapore

Kayu Nasi Kandar

Nasi kandar restaurants belong to a broad genre called economy rice, kandar is the Indian version while nasi campur is Malaysian. You point and pick items to be served over rice. But you kind of have to choose wisely or its not quite as economical–at least not by local standards.

We went hog wild, taking a little of this and that, everything looked so good. And besides, I wasn't super sure what everything was, so the more new stuff the better. I asked for the same crimson battered blobs that the person in front of me had ordered, figuring he must know what he's doing. I didn't expect them to be fish eggs, which is what the counter guy explained. I'm still not sure how they were eggs (bottom left corner of photo). In addition, I got shrimp, chicken, squid, black curry, at least five things. I'm certain the counter guy had us pegged as foreign moneybags because he defaulted to biryani when I noticed everyone else had white rice. I said yes to all the extras like meat floss and cucumber relish.

When all was said and done are two meals came to RM40, which is a freaking lot for Penang. But being a boatload of food and still only $5 apiece, we were in no position to complain. It's nice when the exchange rate and local cost of living actually works in your favor for a change. After sitting down, we observed that most diners had only plain rice and two sides, making us look like the American gluttons we truly are. That's ok, its not every day I get to indulge in a nasi kandar feast.

Kayu Nasi Kandar * Penang Rd., Penang, Malaysia

Indian Oasis

The best New Years Day hangover food ever. It's usually hard enough just to
get dressed on days like these, let alone leave the house. But I'd been
dying to try Indian Oasis, lured by reports of sublime Indian Chinese (as in
Chinese food theyd serve in India, which got me to wondering what Chinese
food around the world must be like. At least India is nearby, but what about
someplace like Finland or Panama?) and Thai food. I forced myself to get in
gear, desperately in need of a savory, spicy kick off for 2005.

This is one of those restaurants where I regret only being able to order
so many dishes. I suppose thats why group dining can be desirable, except in
my case where everyone I know seems to have some sort of dietary quirk or
irrational aversion to anything fun. The menu is varied, and having both the
Chinese and Thai food is a little incongruous (or the best of both worlds
depending on your outlook). Our penang shrimp, while very good, seemed
strange mingling on the same plate with kung pao potatoes (what a great
invention) and chilli lamb Hakka style.

All of our Chinese-Indian food was very dark, rich and liberally spiced.
The sweetly named drums of heaven: crispy, saucy lollipopped chicken wings,
also fell into this canon, which I don't think is necessarily Hakka (if I'm
correct they are known for dried and pickled items, as well as pork usage)
but some Indo-hybrid. I need to learn what ingredients they use for their
dishes, because its wonderful on the tongue. That also could have something
to do with a purported heavy MSG hand. But I was feeling so toxic after a
night of excess that a few more chemicals couldnt have possibly done any

Indian Oasis *
HoraceHarding Expressway, Fresh Meadows, NY



Sometimes you feel cursed. Mina, the Bangladeshi chef who used to (wo)man
the kitchen at her namesake restaurant in Woodside, has moved to the Sixth
St. Indian strip in the East Village. I only tried Mina once and it was a
little traumatizing (though mostly because I became violently ill
immediately after eating, which seemed too soon to be poisoning related to
that meal. I had to attribute it to earlier street cart cakes from Sunset
Parks Chinatown).

But Angon is a totally different restaurant with the same enthusiastic
following. I had high hopes, but once again peripheral circumstances threw
the whole evening off. It was hot, I was cranky and argumentative (it was
Friday and I'd already had a few drinks) and James and I started clashing
over everything without reason. The big rift came when our waitress
misunderstood James while he was ordering. I cant even remember what the
dish was, a lamb curry of some sort, and the menu said it was hot. I think
the waitress pointed out that it was hot but in a garbled ESL way because
she thought James was asking if it was hot. We were hoping that it was.

She became convinced he hated hot food (and possibly her) and we were
unable to rectify our orders heat level. (Sometimes I feel like I have the
worst time communicating. There was this period in the mid-‘90s where
every single time I'd ask for Camel Lights, the clerk would give me Camel
Wides. I practically had to practice enunciating the word lights.) James and
I started spatting over who created the confusion, and I don't even know
what else. From this point on, the meal and the rest of the evening were
going to suck. The damage had been done.

One of the things with Angon, and Mina previously, is how the food
supposedly isnt watered down for Americans, but that you really need to
emphasize you want spiciness. So no, our food wasn't incendiary, though it
was tasty. The fish kofta was good, as well as the samosa chat, which is
practically a meal in itself. I'm afraid that I'm just not meant to be a
member of the Mina-loving club. Not that shes ever done anything to me
personally. But both affiliated restaurants have been settings for odd

Angon on the Sixth * 320 E. Sixth St., New York, NY