Thursday, October 13, 2011

Haute Indian Cuisine at Junoon

I'm amazed that I haven't really written about any Indian food as it's a cuisine that I really do enjoy. While Jackson Heights, Queens and parts of the east side of Manhattan are really known for providing authentic Indian dining options, I wouldn't say that these restaurants necessarily attract diners looking for an upscale experience. Junoon has recently entered the small group of high-end Indian restaurants in New York City. It recently received a Michelin Star. Not bad.

If I can say anything about Junoon, it's that they spared no expense with the decor.

You can already tell that you are in for an experience even by the entryway.

The bar area is awfully spiffy, too. If you are ever waiting for a table, this is not a bad place to have to hang out.

The design of the restaurant includes cool decorative pieces like this one.
I would love to have this, if it could fit in my living room!

Junoon tries to cover many types of Indian dishes and cooking techniques on its menu. The regular dinner menu is divided by type of cooking technique: handi (pot cooking...usually curries on the Junoon menu), sigri (open fire pit), pathar (stone), tawa (griddle) and tandoor (clay oven).

The meal started out with a free "shot" of strawberry lassi. So rich and delicious!

I started out with pakoras and asparagus.
Coconut corn fritters and fenugreek asparagus spears with cilantro-yogurt chutney

I am by no means an expert on Indian food. Usually I go with that I like, which includes my favorites from some local chain Indian chain restaurants. I think of Indian food as comfort food, especially in the winter for some reason. This is my complete and total disclaimer for the rest of this post. :)

The chutney had a refreshing cooling effect on the asparagus and the pakoras. I think I started eating the chutney by itself at one point (Y'all know I'm classy like that). The pakoras were light and not overly fried, which is usually a turn off for me.

I was at Junoon for Restaurant Week, so their lunch items definitely strayed from traditional Indian fare. I got the most traditional dish that I could choose from the menu that day for lunch.

Shrimp Ghassi

Ghassi is a curry from the western coast of India and is made with a mix of spices such as coriander, tumeric and fenugreek along with coconut for contrast. This satisfied the spice lover in me. I can say that this was a balanced curry dish, and no one ingredient overpowered the other.

I also couldn't resist getting naan. For anyone who knows more about Indian food than me, is it okay to have rice and naan together? I usually do, and I have no issue with my love of carbs.

For dessert, I again went the traditional route and got Cardamom Kulfi.

I've never had kulfi before, but I can say that it is essentially a milk-based dessert akin to ice cream. In preparing kulfi, the milk is not whipped, so it resembles more of a frozen milk with a texture that is more solid and dense than anything. I liked the subtlety of the cardamom flavor and the hint of sweetness, which was a nice relief after a spicy main course. The presentation wasn't bad either (modern and offbeat, I thought).

So is this the best, most authentic Indian food in New York? Probably not. However, if you are interested in trying a range of Indian cuisine in a swank setting with very attentive and seamless (although occasionally aloof) service, then I would totally try Junoon.

27 West 24th Street
New York, NY


Erin said...

Sounds yummy. I don't enjoy most Indian desserts but kulfi is a long-time favorite.

Katie said...

Mmm! I really like Indian food, but I am so nervous to try places around here. The last time I had amazing Indian food was in London. I think I ate my body's weight in Naan...and I had some sort of chicken baked in a clay pot that I can't remember the name of now, but it burned my mouth off with it's spicy awesomeness! And now I'm hungry...


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