The neighborhood of west Chelsea has changed dramatically in the past 4 years. Mostly 9th Avenue between 14th and 23rd. As the Meatpacking Area has emerged and the galleries above 23rd street have grown, the area in the middle has opened up to new stores, new restaurants and more residential housing.
Bombay Talkie opened over a year ago at 9th and 22nd. Indian Street Food is the concept. I heard rave reviews when it first opened. No reservations, get there early, etc. Small. Everytime we had an opportunity to go, it was too late to wonder how long we might have to wait so we just passed.
This past Friday night we were driving down from Emily's basketball game on the upper Westside and tried to decide what to do for dinner. It was quite comical. We got on the blackberry and went to menupages. First we went through all the different cuisines available. That alone was amazing. You actually can eat about anything in New York. Afghan, African, American (New), American (Traditional),
Argentinean, Asian, Australian, Austrian, Bagels. Bar Food, Barbecue, Belgian, Bistro, Brazilian,Burgers, Burmese, Cajun & Creole, Californian, Caribbean, Chicken, Chinese, Coffeehouses, Cuban, Delis, Desserts & Bakeries, Dim Sum, Diners & Coffee Shops, Eastern European, Eclectic & International, English, Ethiopian, Filipino, French, German, Greek, Haitian, Hawaiian, Health Food,
Hot Dogs, Indian, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Jamaican, Japanese, Korean, Kosher, Latin American,
Malaysian, Mediterranean, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Moroccan, New England, Noodle Shops, Pan-Asian, Persian, Peruvian, Pizza, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Sandwiches, Scandinavian, Seafood,
Soups, South American, Southern & Soul, Southwestern, Spanish, Steakhouses, Sushi, Swiss, Tapas,
Thai, Tibetan, Turkish, Vegetarian,Venezuelan, Vietnamese, Wild Game and Wings. Wow. After narrowing down our choices, we went with Indian. Bombay Talkie was en route.
The restaurant is adorable. The smells of delicious Indian food overtake your senses the minute you walk in the door. The lighting is low. There is probably enough room for 40 patrons, at most. The bar is at the end of the restaurant, no seats, and the seating is in booths, tables and one long communal table in the square room. The Indian inspired paintings are key too. We went to the back and ordered to take away. Emily and I watched each plate come out of the kitchen and smell the aroma as it passed us. We were thrilled we stopped by. About 15 minutes later, our food came out.
The portions are small and costly for the amount you get but well worth it. We got a mixture because for the first time in a long time all 5 of us were actually going to eat together on a Friday night.
We had 2 chutneys. Tomato chutney. Simple yet perfect to cool down the spices of the food. Tomatoes, onions and ginger. We also had the cucumber raita which was lightly spiced plain yogurt with pureed cucumbers. Really good.
Lamb Biryani was one of the entrees we got. Nice sized pieces of lamb, cooked perfectly and mixed in with a yellow basmati rice that had absorbed a variety of spices with pieces of cashews. It was delicious. The rice alone was a treat. Our other dish was large chunks of chicken cooked in a tomato based sauce that used turmeric, cordianer, cumin, chili and garam masala for flavorings. Really spicy (at least for us) yet the flavors came through perfectly. The combo of the cucumber raita with this and some bread worked great. We also had the Tandoori Shrimp. Really spicy and delicious too. This was served with slices of lime which was a great accompaniment.
We got the buttered lentils which were not spicy at all but quite delicious mixed together as a side for any of the entrees. The other which was really good and had a zing to it was the smoked eggplant that had been cooked so long that it was like a thick soup mixed with ginger, coriander, cumin and chiles.
Unfortunately we only ordered one stuffed naans. Gobi Ka Naan. Indian pita bread stuffed with cauliflowers, onions and cumin. This alone makes a great lunch for one. We all loved this. More next time.
Lots of spice and lots of taste. I really liked the vibe in the restaurant too. Particularly the large flat panel over the bar playing Bollywood films with Indian music piped over the sound system. A winner.