Indian Accent, which recently open near Le Parker Meridien Hotel, is chef/ owner Manish Mehrotra's first restaurant endevour in New York City. Since 2009, when the original Indian Accent opened on the outskirts of New Dehli, chef Mehrotra has become “one of the most admired chefs in India,” Wells states. His new NYC outpost offers an Indian cuisine that's, “lightened by modern influences from abroad… but anchored by the culture he grew up in,” that said, “at his New Delhi restaurant, a scoop of kulfi may be served in a toy pressure cooker, an appliance roughly as common in Indian homes as microwaves are in American ones.” says Wells.
In his review, Wells describes Indians as a people who,"desire to see traditional food bent, twisted and played with until it tastes new again,” and moreover that New York could likewise use some upscale Indian restaurants that do the same. New York essentially has two “comfortable, modern” Indian restaurants according to Wells, Junoon and Tamarind Tribeca.
Indian Accent's “interior stays away from anything that may play into preconceptions of how Indian restaurants are supposed to look,” in addition, dishes such as the kulcha stuffed with pastrami and mustard, make the diviation from 'traditional Indian' food even more apparent.
Wells was quite impressed with how well Indian Accent incorporated so many unique spins and foreign flavors into its dishes with ruining them. Wells says that, “Letting China, Mexico and the Carnegie Deli barge into an Indian restaurant without having the dinner turn into a chaotic grab bag is an impressive feat.” he continues the praise in acknowledging how clever sprinkling the fried squid with puffed rice and chickpea-flour threads to “turn up the crunch factor” is.
In describing more dinner highlights, Wells says of the sweet pickled ribs that,”in their tart mango sauce with strips of dried mango on top, these tender baby backs are so good I’d eat them under any name.” Another dish worth the praise of Wells is the soy keema. While the majority of dishes are tasty, “Mixed in with the outstanding dishes are some that won’t inspire many international emails.” according to Wells.
Items like the Kolhapuri chicken, described as a chile-fueled curry from western India, “appears as an appetizer of cold chicken salad that you could feed to the least adventurous eater you know.” while Wells states tht the “fried shiso leaves looked impressive standing upright in a pile of potatoes and water chestnuts drizzled with chutney, but the batter was too thick for the herb to have much impact.”
Wells explains that Indian Accent is a “young restaurant, still learning to transplant an approach that worked in New Delhi to Manhattan.” continuing in saying that, “It can take time for chefs to sort out their suppliers in a new region.” Though this may be true, Wells seems to not be worried about its future.
Don't miss out on the dessert, makhan malai, a street snack that at Indian Accent has a fluffy mound of aerated saffron milk sprinkled with rose petals, almonds and palm sugar. “The fun of the dessert is in the way these crystallized toppings transform the unsweetened saffron milk once everything meets inside your mouth.” Wells believes this dessert to be “wonderful… It’s the kind of happy collision that few restaurants in town can deliver as well as Indian Accent.”For the complete Pete Wells review, click here.
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