I Don't Care If Inday 'Isn't That Indian'

Since Inday first opened, it has been met with some criticism — mainly, that a scoop of Paneer does not an Indian Fusion fast-food restaurant make. 

Before the tides changed on the winter menu, I settled in on a rainy December night for a tardy taste of the fall fare, hoping to form a more positive opinion of my own. 

First, a quick lesson on the restaurant's origins: faced with the option of "heavy" traditional Indian food on one side of the spectrum and more predictable fast-casual options on the other, owner and creator Basu Ratnam, tried to merge the two.

The result is a counter that offers you a series of choices: a base of either shredded vegetables, a.k.a. "Not Rice" (my favorite), grains, rice, or salad; a protein such as either chicken, steak, salmon, turkey, or tofu; and of course, garnishes like hot sauce, yogurt, pickled raisins, microgreens, and lentil crisp. 

My advice: pile on all of the options you're offered into one biodegradable bowl. The spice mixes are toasted and blended in-house, and all of the chutneys and dressings are made from scratch. Whatever you choose, you'll get a gluten-free meal that hits pretty much all of your food groups and the feeling that you ate something fresh and good for you. That has a price tag of $10 to $12 per bowl.

If you're stopping in between 3pm and 9pm, try their new high tea menu — a $6 pot will go a long way — and if you can find a seat, stay. The vibe is earthy but chic, and the tables are lined with candles and bowls of eucalyptus leaves.

As for this debate about whether or not its "Indian" roots can be found within the bowl, my opinion is this: the cuisine, which is said to be Calcutta-inspired, checks out somewhere between Chickpea and Just Salads, ranking on the higher end of the totem pole that is the assembly line-style of eating that has become so very popular among New York City lunch-goers. 

Does the chicken liken itself to tikka masala? Negative. Does the steak carry the sweet scent of korma? Not so much. Therefore, if you're looking to chow down on traditional Indian food for lunch, this isn't the place for you. If you're after a wholesome, tasty meal with a hint of exotic spice, this concept will land just fine.