THE SCENE. Indian cab drivers drop by for the lunch buffet during the week. Weekends are family affairs with sari-clad grandmothers, aunts, and cousins. Vivid purple sconces, framed native watercolors, and sitar music give diners a sense of place. But the real thrill is the cooking.
WHAT YOU'LL LOVE. The deft spicing–this isn't timid food, but neither is it scorching. Chef Anthony Binod (who used to own a restaurant in Queens, home to New York's best Indian eateries) layers flavor upon flavor for dishes with depth–gravies are brimming with aromatics: curry leaves, mustard seeds, cardamom pods, and cinnamon sticks.
WHAT YOU WON'T. Flatbreads aren't always as flaky as they might be. Service occasionally can be indifferent, even gruff.
BEST DISHES. Some of the flakiest samosas around; an offbeat pakora of deep-fried cheese stuffed with fresh mint and paired with a cilantro-mint dipping sauce; the house biryani with crunchy shallots; a coconut-rich Goan fish curry; shrimp curry spiked with mustard seeds; tandoori lamb chops on the bone; and bhindi masala, a fiery, tomato-based okra stew that makes you wonder how anyone could ever malign this vegetable.