Our 10 Best: Indian Restaurants
The glory of Indian food is its infinite variety. Think about it. An enormous region--we're including Pakistan and Bangladesh--with cultures that go back thousands of years, including influences from foreign invaders as diverse as the Mughals, the Portuguese, and the English. Food from almost every corner of the globe, tweaked over the years to become Indian. And in India, each group has a sub-group and each sub-group has a sub-group, like a never-ending set of Russian dolls. And everyone, of course, has their food.
Although many parts of the country still have to content themselves with nothing but saag paneer, in New York, we can munch on everything from the simple daal and chapatis that many Indians eat everyday; fat-dripping, grilled kabobs; dosas so long and teetering that they're almost space-age; awesomely unhealthy Indian-Chinese dishes; and biryanis so deluxe that they boggle the mind. And don't forget the snacks! Crunchy, tangy-spicy chaats; pakoras grabbed from Punjabi hole-in-the-walls; lassis and kulfi; Gujarati chickpea cakes topped with mustard seeds; and English tea-time sandwiches stuffed with spiced paneer.
For Our 10 Best Indian Restaurants, we included all the South Asian countries that were one before partition: Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.
Forge ahead to find the runners up!
Oh, look, it's Madina Restaurant's chapli kabob---a Pakistani snack that's named after a shoe
The runners up, listed in order of preference:
Grilled mushrooms stuffed with cheese curd from newcomer Bhatti Indian Grill (where you should skip the curries--anything from the grill is awesome)
Rajbhog Sweets and Snacks, 72-27 37th Avenue, Jackson Heights, Queens, 718-458-8512; Tabla/Bread Bar/bhel puri cart, 11 Madison Avenue, 212-889-0667; Bhatti Indian Grill*, 100 Lexington Avenue, 212-683-4228; Sukhadia's Gokul**, 17 West 45th Street, 212-395-7300; Bukhari Restaurant, 1095 Coney Island Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-859-8044; Masala 2 Wok, 25601 Hillside Avenue, Floral Park, Queens, 718-343-6300; Pongal, 110 Lexington Avenue, 212-696-9458; Medina Restaurant, 563 Coney Island Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-469-3535; Chinese Mirch, 120 Lexington Avenue, 212-532-3663; Zaffran Party Hall and Restaurant, 90 Church Avenue, Brooklyn 917-627-8748
* For kabobs only, not curries
** For the mithai (sweets) and chaat corner
Gujarati chickpea pasta rolls (khandvi) topped with mustard seeds, from Rajbhog Sweets and Snacks The pulled goat at Aamchi Pao is nothing to shake a stick at. But will it make the top 10?