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Friday, April 27, 2012

Peachy Picks Tamarind Our Coverage Sponsored by The Giving Back Foundation

Peachy Deegan and Avtar Walia

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It may have taken us awhile to venture out for Indian cuisine, but when we did we started at the top!  Tamarind has an illustrious reputation as being the best Indian restaurant in the United States, nevermind just Manhattan, and they enthusiastically confirmed that reputation through their splendid service, genuine hospitality of Avtar Walia and his team, and phenomenal cuisine! If you think you don't like Indian food, you're just going to the wrong place.
Tamarind was first featured in Tasty Tidbits:
And it has graduated to Peachy's Picks with flying colors!
Tamarind has led the way in Indian cuisine for the twelve years they've been around and every bite was just a part of the entire hit parade.  There was not an empty seat in the house on a weeknight even on the early side and the diverse crowd confirmed that this is a place for everyone.
Their wine list is solid and Peachy Deegan began with a Chateau D'Esclans Whispering Angel from Provence.  Crisp, ripe and welcoming for spring, this winner paired well with our appetizer selections.
Starting at 11 o'clock, and going clockwise, we sampled: the Shrimp Special: coconut milk, creamy tomato sauce, mustard seeds, curry leaves and Bagare Ghinga (Ghinga is the word for shrimp.  Our culinary vocabulary increased immensely during our visit to Tamarind!); Lahsani Gobi, which means Garlic and Tomato Cauliflower, Chili Crab, jumbo lump crab meat sauteed in a chili and tamarind sauce, served with nan; and finally the Bhel Poori, assorted crisps and noodles with sweet and sour chutneys.  All were on the spicier side of life for Peachy but not overly so.  And Juris Ivans, the server, was attentive and noticed when Peachy needed more water during the evening.  The Shrimp Special took the cake and was Peachy's favorite with its succulent seafood style and innovative (to her) sauce.
Manager Christopher Corda was gracious all evening and provided background tidbits to any of our questions and also made some delightful suggestions!
The Lobster Masala was the best menu item in Peachy Deegan's humble inexperienced Indian opinion!  Served with shitake mushrooms, chopped onions, garlic and white wine, it has a fantastic flavor that will appeal to every lobster lover, and she is also a fan of garlic.  She's never had anything like this before and the quality of the seafood was top-notch.
Of everything in the world of cuisine, lamb is way down the list for Peachy.  Apparently she has never had the right lamb, since she liked this!  Officially this is named the Masaledar Chop: Lamb chops marinated in nutmeg, cinnamon and aromatic Indian herbs!  Succulent and bursting with aroma, this lamb chop is going to trump all the others in your past history.
We are not vegetarians, but if you are, you will love the Majjiga Pulusu: South Indian style green plaintain, yam, radish, white pumpkin, carrots, and okra with buttermilk, mustard seeds and curry leaves.  You almost are unaware that you are eating vegetables as it comes out as a lovely spicy soup.
Above is the poori which is whole wheat, deep fried puffed bread.  It reminded us of a souffle as it caved in a bit once we took the photo-it was big and puffy when it arrived, but a lot arrived at once and Peachy was not quick enough with her camera for the poori!  It was terrific and the right companion for each component of the menu we sampled.
There is one thing Peachy has had multiple times before: flourless chocolate cake!
And the Tamarind version was excellent.  The raspberry coulis was ideal as a highlight.
Our esteemed panelist adds:
At Tamarind (on 22nd Street), the staff confidently makes the claim that it is the best Indian food in the country; and from our experience, that could be true. The first thing you notice about Tamarind is that the decor does not strike one as distinctly ethnic, or Indian; but certainly sophisticated. I started with a cucumber-tini cocktail which I thought would be prudent for the many spices that would soon be served. 
We had a smathering of the Chili Crab, Lahsani Gobi (Cauliflower), Bagari Ghinga (Shrimp) and Bhel Poori (crsips and noodles). It was a nice combination of flavors; spiciness from the crab to the sweet and smooth sauce on the Bagari Ghinga, to the neutralizing Bhel Poori. People who frequent Indian restaurants will also notice the much larger selection on the Tamarind menu compared to the neighborhood Indian takeout joint that offers the basic Chicken Tikka Masala, Samosas, and a half dozen other standard dishes. Tamarind’s menu includes a large seafood section among many others. We were treated to an assortment of entrees that included a perfectly cooked Lamb Chop accompanied by a coconut chutney sauce, Lobster Masala, and Majjiga Pulusu (a vegetarian dish). The greatest thing about a dish like Majjiga Pulusu is that it is so tasty and filling that you never miss the meat. For those who look forward to more heat to their meal, the Murg Kolhapuri (spicy chicken) does not disappoint.We were also able to sample the Poori (whole wheat, deep-fried puffed bread) that ballooned with hot air inside and slowly deflated, some Pudina Paratha (Mint flavored bread), and lemon rice; a pleasant change from your everyday Nan and plain basmati rice. 
I decided on the Mango Cheesecake for dessert and it was rich and smooth; worthy of being called a New York cheesecake and with enough mango and caramel to have an Indian influence. At the end, the staff at Tamarind was right, the overall experience WAS the best I’d had at an Indian restaurant.
Peachy Picks Tamarind!
Tamarind is Highly Recommended by Whom You Know.

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