Lets Talk Curry Hill

Oldest just moved 8 blocks south to 27th and Mad. Walking around there the other day, something occurred to me. Did the Indian scene on Lex change much the past 20 years?
You walk on any block in East Village, Hell’s Kitchen, or any Manhattan neighborhood and see the changes every year, but that part of Lex looks still the same. I cant think of any other area like it on the island. Unless there are subtle changes I’m not aware of. Its not a complaint. Quite the opposite. Refreshing.

What are you current favorite places and dishes. I used to like Chote Nawab but havent been in a while. Last meal a year ago at Sahib was just ok.


I had a client across from Madison square park, we’d occasionally walk over for lunch. We liked pippali’s thalis and saag dishes in particular. On my own I ventured into haandi a bunch of times, inexpensive, if you choose with care, eat in the park, one can have a good experience. There was a good place for dosa as well, maybe it was Saravanaa Bhavan but I don’t think so, probably pongal.

Sorry I wasn’t more help, haven’t been recently except for some good chaat at a snack shop a couple of doors down from Kalustyan’s.

Off topic, one of the joys of visiting our client was eating off hours at the shake shack in madison park before it was a chain.


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Not much new to add to my previous thoughts — links below.

Things have changed quite a bit, not necessarily for the better

Pakistani cabbie places are now mostly Bangladeshi, the many South Indian vegetarian places are mostly gone / consolidated, even the grocery stores have turned over or gentrified.

But some of the stalwarts are still there.

I like Pippali, Anjappar, Haandi, and Vatan though my experience at some of them needs more recent refreshing. Lahori Kabab is Bangladeshi (they didn’t bother to change the name) so you can get some Bangla things there in addition to the usual, but also the usual things taste different than you might have expected from the earlier Lahori (Pakistani) version. (Haandi & Lahori kabab are takeout for me, not eat-in.)


wondering how long ago that was! I worked at Melife on Madison Square Park untill my job moved to NJ at 9/11 - literally - had to complete my box packing in the smoky aftermath, I remember that original Shake Shack in the park - their Chicago dogs were great. The store down the street from me now offers food that is a pale shade of the original offerings - in a crowd of deliveristas.

I have the same feeling about that stretch of Lex as you. North of the Baruch redevolopment above 23rd street, there really hasnt been much RE development activity - the small shop fronts mostly remain. But the bengali steam table I used to have lunch at maybe across from the Armory is long gone Saravanaa Bhavan is still there and good, not sure about the imitative wannabees that copied the name for a while… There was a side street chaat shop n of Kalustyan I used to patronize, not sure if its still there. and of course Vatan.

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Maybe you’re thinking of Dimple? They served Gujarati food and Bombay-style snacks. I still miss them. (The Jackson Heights branch stayed open a lot longer (it was around where Dosa Delight(?) is now on 73 St. )

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Maybe we need a HO visit to curry hill sometime this year. Or two.


I’ve never been to Vatan, shamefully.

yup that was it. Id be happy to do a cruise there.

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I presume you know that Vatan is on Third Ave., between 28th and 29th Sts., so actually not in “Curry Hill.” Since it’s a few blocks from our apartment, we tried it once a long time ago. I didn’t like it for several reasons: very uncomfortable seating on the floor;* a prix-fixe menu style which didn’t allow for much choice; and, most important, food that did not appeal to me.

*Note: A few years ago, Vatan did a renovation, so seating might be different.

Curry Hill spots we’ve been to: Bhatti, Anjappar, Dhabba, Sahib, and Pippali.

My favorite NYC Indian restaurant is the upscale Indian Accent, in Midtown. We’ve been there many times for lunch and dinner (though, sadly, not recently). Every meal was superb. Professional service and lovely ambiance with very comfortable seating.

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The NYT does not agree.

Irrespective of it being listed in that Times article, while Vatan is in close proximity, I don’t consider it to be in what I consider Curry Hill.


While I haven’t been recently, breakfast and dosas at Saravanaa Bhavan , have always been good.

Saravanaa Bhavan at 81 Lex

lol Jen, I didn’t realize how long ago it was until you asked the question, did the math and found, incredibly, it was around 20 years ago :rofl:

The place I was thinking of was on the avenue, just 3-4 tables as i remember it.

I wonder if dimple’s was related to dimple’s Bombay talk in iselin, used to bring home their chaat for the fam after visiting a client out there, everyone loved it.

Don’t know if they are related, but the Iselin Dimple does have Bombay in the name.

The Manhattan & JH ones had very typically gujarati snacks (farsan) that are very hard to find otherwise. And Bombay style street food, not North Indian, which is totally different.

It’s possible that I’m confusing the Manhattan location with the JH one in terms of side street / main road. Though the Manhattan one was shut down a couple of times by the health dept :joy: (probably didn’t pay enough, bec a vegetarian restaurant is going to have a lot fewer violations than somewhere like Haandi or Curry in a hurry that’s handling raw and cooked meat).

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The Manhattan Dimple was on 30th off 5th. For a while, many years ago, it was on my Manhattan beat and I ate their snacks and sweets many times. It was indeed very good. There was a confusing period after it closed when Gaam took its place, and then for a while it was a branch of Vatan while that restaurant was being renovated.

On seating at Vatan: I think table seating (where you dangled your legs in a pit) was always available, in addition to floor, but there are also now regular tables, especially upstairs (we ate at one such last May). To me the cuisine they represent, Gujerati vegetarian, is (along with the similar Maharashtrian vegetarian) one of the glories of world cuisine. But I recognize that tastes differ.

I should add that Vatan has toned down its cuisine over the years and its food is no longer as forceful as it once was.

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I really liked the iselin dimple’s tokri chaat, anyone know where I can find this in (on?) curry hill or nyc?

Our signature basket made a finely shredded potato. Filled with onions, peanuts, savory mix of shallow fried lentils mildly spiced in yogurt. Topped with all chutneys & pomegranate seed chutney.


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its been quite a number of years since I was last at Vatan and I dangled my feet into a pit… Its hard to imagine that food being toned down, I remember it as being rich but very mild.