The open kitchen, built around huge, tiled tandoor ovens, provides the appetizing spectacle of chefs grilling skewered meats and puffy breads in those 900-degree infernos. Ask for a table with a view of the action.
The elegant, comfortable bar is the ideal place to relax over a pre-dinner drink or meet a friend for a few small tastes.
Good to Know
Executive chef Sylva Senat consults with master traditional Indian chef Sanjay Shende to ensure that his culinary innovations stays rooted in authentic flavors.
Ink-on-paper beverage menus are available for Luddites who may not want to navigate the flashy iPad wine list.
Shikaari Vermont Quail (Wood-smoked quail with tamarind and peanut rice stuffing and three-onion confit)
Tandoor Chaamp (Australian lamb chops with cashmere paprika, honey, and mustard oil)
Malai Kofta Lollypops (Yukon potato and paneer dumplings with nine spices over cashew-tomato sauce)
Graham beck sparkling rose from South Africa ($43 bottle)
Sula Sauvignon blanc from India ($9 glass)
Valets whisking shiny Audis to safe parking spots look out of place on this gritty block of Broad Street, but the glamorous world inside the walls of Tashan, Munish Narula’s upmarket take on Indian food, offers an even bigger, out-of-context surprise. The lounge-inspired bar, the pendulous light fixtures, the plush banquettes, and the walls of wine bottles will make you wonder if Broad Street has made a surreal detour through a upscale corner of New York.
Like Buddakan when it debuted, Tashan has given a serious upgrade to a usually-cheap cuisine and serves it in a swanky setting. But the edgy Indian flavors cooked up here are a world away from what you find at the typical lunch buffet. It’s a breathtakingly ambitious project, from the high-design dining room to the thoughtful, creative small plates that populate the menu.
Fans of Tiffin, Narula’s chain of causal Indian joints, won’t find takeout standards like chicken tikka masala on this expansive menu. Instead, Chef Sylva Senat, who has worked under food-world luminaries including Marcus Samuelsson and Jean-George Vongerichten, uses Indian flavors and cooking techniques as a framework to create dishes that taste utterly original.
Having the right equipment helps: Those tiled tandoor ovens reach a scorching 900 degrees and give lamb chops, marinated with paprika, honey and sharp mustard oil, a perfect savory char. Malai Kofta, a cheese-and-potato dumpling dish usually served in a wan tomato cream sauce, is whimsically reinvented. The deep fried dumplings, fragrant with warming, complex spices, are served as lollipops in a shallow little pool of tomato-cashew sauce with startlingly vibrant and concentrated flavor.
The best emblem of what this kitchen can accomplish might be the wood-smoked quail. The petite bird is stuffed with a sweet and salty tamarind and peanut rice and paired with buttery caramelized onions. The covered plate is filled with wood smoke before its dramatic table presentation, when the cloche is removed with a theatrical flourish and the aromas released in a cloud of rising smoke. In many restaurants, this would feel over the top; at Tashan it’s a welcome part of the show.
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