Tamarind Restaurant

Since we (my husband and i) are having a childless summer (3 kids in sleepaway camp for 8 weeks), we have almost gone out for dinner every night. As someone who loves to cook, I’m a little over the going out thing. But, last night we couldn’t decide what we felt like.

First we thought that we’d stay in the neighborhood and go to Cru which just opened around the corner on 9th and 5th. Closed for the night. Drag. One of the great things about summer in the city for dinner is that you can pretty much walk into any restaurant and get a table for 2. It is a beautiful thing. So, now what should we do? How about Indian food? Great.

I have been really wanting to get up to Kalustyan Masala Cafe. Kalustyan’s store is one of my favorites. They have everything from olive oil to nuts to seasonings and a bonus of a small cafe upstairs with wonderful food. Unfortunately last night, the restaurant, Masala, was closed and the cafe at Kalustyan’s is for lunch only. We were not having much success. There are so many Indian restaurants on Lexington Avenue from 23-29th but we did not know which one was good. Many are vegetarian which we did not want. But, now we had a hankering for Indian food.

We walked down to Tamarind. We’d been there before and the food was great. Obviously so do a lot of people because the place was jammed. We sat at the bar and finally got seated about 20 minutes later. The guy running the place is exactly who’d you want to run your restaurant. He was charming, attentive and chatty with everyone in there.

We decided that we would order 2 entrees, a vegetable, a bread and a rice and split it up. One of the entrees was the Masaledar Lamb Chops. 4 2 boned lamb chops that have been marinated in nutmeg, cinnamon and indian spices. They were delicious, bone sucking and really spicy. We also had the Curry Fish. The fish yesterday was cod. They choose the fish seasonably. The curry was rich, spicy and delicious yet the fish was perfectly cooked and not overcome by the curry sauce. Our vegetable was Japanese Eggplant cooked with peanuts, sesame seeds and coconut. The eggplant was falling apart and the sauce was spicy and delicious. We got some nam bread which is like odd shaped pita bread to mop everything up. We also had some vegetable basmatic rice with raisins and nuts. All and all, the meal was absolutely delicious.

I love Indian food. When I think of Indian food, I immediately think Tandoori or Curry but the truth is, it is so much more. The spices are wonderful. The different tastes are all over the map. The spices explode in your mouth. I am going to have to start experimenting with Indian food at home because come this fall, the restaurant gig we have going is going to cease to once a week…well maybe twice a week.