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Had dinner here with Jesikka last night.

 

Meal started with the best kind of service glitch – they served an amuse twice on accident. (Not the pumpkin soup, a little thing of peas)

 

We shared the potato sphere chaat, the sweet potato shakarkandi; the soft paneer and the sweet pickle ribs; the tamarind sea bass and the dal gosht, with a comped order of the butter chicken kulcha; and the doda barfi treacle tart and the crispy seviyan with rice pudding.

 

To me, the most noteworthy dishes were the sweet pickle ribs, the fish (as noted earlier), and the comped chicken kulcha.

 

The ribs were just delicious – nicely pickled, a good portion, just a well-tuned mix of meaty, sweet, and acidic.

 

The fish was really exciting, in that I think it really shows how this sort of food can be so good. It came with what was listed as "kerala moilee", but served much more as a sauce to a separate fish element than as a curry. Contra what Adrian talks about in the Mexico City thread, this had the effect of meaningfully improving the dish – the flavor and texture contrasts in the fish, the moilee sauce, the herb barley, and the crust... like, that they were there from the different elements having (presumably) been cooked separately just made this a stronger and more interesting dish that had more complexity and more things going on, versus if everything were cooked together.

 

And that butter chicken kulcha just was, like... immediate easy contrast for how good things were technically.

 

Ends up at something like... the food's at I think a higher level technically than what I've had at e.g. Tulsi, and for that the flavors end up being more complex and interesting. It's a damn good restaurant. The to extent things are fancified, I think that has been for the better.

I also loved it. Although I understand how some could suggest the portions are small, they are quite dense and add up quickly. I was painfully full before dessert came. The moilee was by far my favorite dish, but I also thought the potato chat was special. I liked how the menu reflected seasonality while still containing mostly traditional year round dishes. I wish that tea service were more impressive- it is such a strength in India (and Britain) that isn't reflected here at all.

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Every time I eat here just emphasizes to me what an excellent restaurant this is.   A word to the wise: have the soft-shell crab while it's here.   Also, I have to say that the pulled jackfruit

I mean, who wouldn't want to talk about something as hilarious as sending a patron trying to get to the bathroom back to his table for a birthday presentation?

Pity about the tea. Perhaps they ought to employ the 'tea sommelier' [Chris Day?] from EMP as a consultant.

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I rather suspected Indian Accent would obtain two stars, but I can't say I really understood this review. There were some mediocre dishes, and they could source better ingredients?

 

I think what I mean is that I'm not sure Wells approached the restaurant as an establishment arguably aiming for three NYT stars. Will re-read after work.

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I rather suspected Indian Accent would obtain two stars, but I can't say I really understood this review. There were some mediocre dishes, and they could source better ingredients?

 

I think what I mean is that I'm not sure Wells approached the restaurant as an establishment arguably aiming for three NYT stars. Will re-read after work.

 

I feel the same way.

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I believe I wrote the explanation of Wells's review (or at least his star rating) right after Indian Accent opened two-and-a-half months ago:

 

Chef Manish Mehrotra didn't get the (accurate) memo that Enrique Olvera got about current New York dining trends. Not only did he (and/or his bosses) locate in Midtown, and not only did they commission a traditionally formal dining room (I mean, let's not go crazy: there were no tablecloths), but the menu is composed of fancy food at the level I assume Chef Mehrota serves in New Delhi; this is not a casual version of his cuisine, adjusted for The Way We Eat Now, like Cosme.

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  • 5 months later...

Sometimes errands go quicker than you expected, and the subway works miraculously well. So, last night, I found myself uptown an hour before my City Center show was to start, rather than the fifteen minutes or a half hour I had planned.

 

I figured I'd stop into Indian Accent for one of their excellent cocktails and some bar snacks.

 

It turns out they've eliminated the bar menu, though. So instead I had a cocktail and two dishes off the carte, with some of their well-chosen wine selections.

 

This restaurant is, I think, even better than I had initially thought. I'd say it's as good at what it does as Aquavit is at what it does (and, to be clear, I think what they each do is similar).

 

My first food selection was morels dusted with walnut powder served between one kind of those crackery things at which Indian cuisine excels. This was, quite simply, a very good dish.

 

Then the pork belly vindaloo. They clearly regard this as some kind of signature -- although I've also red negative comments about it. I think it's just fantastic. Ethnic hotheads will complain that it isn't painfully hot, the way we've come to expect vindaloos to be. And I'll say that I've never had a vindaloo with anything approaching the depth of flavor here. And the pork belly wasn't too rich or fatty -- a sign, among other things, that in their butchering, they're not afraid to drop off the cheap parts to make a dish better.

 

The cocktails remain excellent: among the best restaurant-style cocktails in the City.

 

I let this place drop off my radar. Don't make that mistake.

 

COMP DISCLOSURE: A bunch of digestifs, once they saw I was serious about liquor. (Possibly they also knew that the Nederlands Dans Theater's program would need some help.)

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