Holi, if you’re unfamiliar, is the Indian festival of color, which is celebrated by joyously throwing colored water and colored powder at people. Traditionally, everyone wears white, a blank canvas upon which to honor the triumph of good over bad and celebrate the arrival of spring, when everything is in bloom and the promise of a good harvest is made. Of course, no Holi celebration is complete without a little celebratory feast, so we’ve rounded up the best places to go to get your Holi fix — and get your groove on — in NYC.
Utsav — whose name translates to festival, will be running Chef Hari Nayak’s Holi Traditional Vegetarian Thaali menu through the 25th for $40 a person. Utsav itself is a colorful restaurant that celebrates the traditions of Indian cuisine through modern, easily accessible dishes.
The Thaali menu features the traditional thandai, a celebratory cocktail of almonds, rose petals, cardamom, poppy seeds and saffron; sweet dumplings known as gujia; crispy beet quinoa tikki served with potato patty with chutneys; paneer zaffrani, cubed cottage cheese with saffron and almond sauce; cashew kofta korma, nut crusted vegetable dumplings in a tomato cream sauce; “Holi” poori chole, puffed wheat bread with spicy chickpea and potato stew, and spring sarson ka saag, creamed mustard greens with spinach and seasonal vegetables. “PAAN”acotta, made with flavored cream, fennel and rose is being offered for dessert.
If you’re a party bruncher, head to Stage 48 for four floors of DJs, dancing, eating, and drinking on March 26th from 12PM-7PM. There will be a fully stocked top-shelf cash bar and complimentary vegetarian and non-vegetarian hors d'oeuvres, and multiple bars on every floor. White attire is highly recommended—and you’ll probably leave looking like you had a fight with a rainbow and lost—but if you’re feeling adventurous, general admission is $30.
CHOLA & DOSAI
If you are Kosher, Vegetarian, or both, you’re in luck!
Chola serves exclusively Kosher vegetarian cuisine year-round, and in honor of the holiday, its sister restaurant, Dosai is following suit with a special $20 menu through March 27. The menu is available at both restaurants and includes all of the following: Holi lassi, a signature drink made with a drop of rum; Pau Bhaji, mashed vegetables served Bombay style with hot buttered bread, bhel puri made with puffed ride, pomegranate, and tamarind chutney; Haldi paneer, char-grilled Indian cheese in a home style sauce with garlic and dill’ vegetable biryani, slow-cooked rice layered with vegetables, slow-cook dal makhani, and raiti, yogurt and cilantro; choice of plain or garlic naan, masala tea; and gulab jamun, cardamom milk balls in syrup, for dessert.