Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bringing Together Thai, Indian and Chinese

Source: New York Times

IT’S hard to categorize the New Chilli and Curry Restaurant in Hicksville. The owner and the chefs are from Nepal. The food is Thai, Indian-style Chinese and North Indian. The menu explains that generations ago, immigrants from China settled in Calcutta and Bombay, and, over time, these Hakka Chinese began to cook their native food incorporating Indian spices and other Indian ingredients.

The restaurant, which opened last May, occupies a converted cottage, which is cozy and charming. The walls are brick and the ceiling pressed tin with a shiny copper finish. The décor is dominated by Buddha statues, a large photograph of the Dalai Lama and numerous depictions of elephants.

On a recent Sunday night, when every table was occupied and diners were lined up at the door, the restaurant staff was harried and overwhelmed; our waiter talked so fast we couldn’t understand a word he said. The kitchen fell behind and there were long waits between courses. On a laid-back Wednesday, the same waiter was helpful and accommodating, and the meal was properly paced.

He got us on the right track when we were ordering appetizers, steering us to the fried shrimp with garlic and fresh chili. The delicious shrimp had been coated in coconut powder and tossed with garlic and chilies. Don’t worry about the food being too spicy for your palate; even though this dish was designated with a chili pepper on the menu, the kitchen toned it down as we requested.

Another headliner from the appetizer list was crispy chicken with honey and dried chili. The chunks of boneless meat were crunchy and reminiscent of General Tso’s chicken. Crunchy was also the word for the Thai spring roll, cut into six pieces and served with plum sauce. The fish pakora, strips of fish marinated in Indian spices and deep fried, passed muster, but paneer tikka — slices of bland house-made cheese, seasoned and barbecued in the tandoor oven — elicited reactions of “interesting” rather than “wow.”

New and new innovations everyday. Not sure what to eat for dinner. Just go here, look at the menu and then decided what you're in the mood for :)

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