Back in the day, I used to be obsessed with going to E. 6th Street for some authentic and delicious Indian food – you know, that one restaurant with the sitar player in the window and the other with the Christmas lights 24/7/365. It was great for my college days, but now the cramped seating seems too confining. I recently discovered a slew of fancy Indian restaurants on E. 58th Street: also delicious with much more appropriately spaced out tables, and some places trying their hand on some neuvo-fusion dishes. Great food, but the higher price-point did not sit well with my stomach. Or, people suggest Jackson Heights. Please!
But NOW there is one Indian restaurant that has it all: Chote Nawab in Curry Hill. That is, Murray Hill. Get it?!
Chote Nawab takes traditional dishes from both North and South India and serve it up in a casual atmosphere with modern, colorful decor. The fun decorative bowls adorning the walls and geometric metallic cut-outs hanging from the ceiling are juxtaposed with the traditional Indian-themed painted murals. I personally love this one of a woman escaping through the back wall!
Their signature house-specialty kababs are incredibly flavorful. They take Kababs out of this world with their variety of sauces and spices. The spicy green masala chicken kabab is incredible. I love anything with lamb, including their Kakori skewered lamb roll kababs with their house blend of spices. The lamb that they use is incredibly pungent in itself already, and the added seasonings definitely make it a hard-hitting, savory experience.
I’m usually a meat girl, but a new vegetarian dish seriously opened my eyes: the Gobi Taka Tin, stir fried cauliflower with ginger and lime. The soft and tender cauliflower really comes to life with the tangy lime and all the delicious spices. And of course, it pairs fantastically with one of my all-time favorite Indian dishes, naan. Such a staple in almost any restaurant, but incredibly essential. We opted for the naan with some cheese sprinkled into the soft layers.
I typically order the spicy lamb vindaloo wherever I go, but I decided to try some of their more original entrees and went with the milder seafood Patra Ni Machi, fish green masala wrapped in banana leaves. It paired great with the Tahiri Basmati rice with steamed vegetables and the Baigan Bhartha, smoked eggplant cooked with onions, garlic, and ginger.
Though beyond stuffed to try anything else, other recommended dishes that I will come back for include the Tunde Ke Kabab, a “melt in your mouth” Lucknowi lamb kabab with minced lamb and spices; the Dum Biryani, a Hyderabadi rice dish, cooked “dum”- style, or sealed pot style, served with a choice of goat or chicken, house blend spices, and garden herbs; the Dum Kokur, a sealed pot chicken curry on the bone; and for vegetarians, the Bindi Sasuralwali, an okra dish with fresh vegetables, herbs and house blend spices.
But really, the most important thing of all is to get a glass of the delicious and smooth mango lassi, the blended yogurt smoothie-like mango drink. It’s sweet, but not overpoweringly so, and I order about 3 glassesof these: one as a starter, one for mid-meal, and one for dessert. Also, for people who can’t handle their spicy, it will help sooth your burning tongue, so it’s great to keep a cup of this by your side.
The seating is spacious and comfortable, unlike their neighboring Curry in a Hurry where their patrons looked in the windows enviously at all of our elbow room. Chote Nawab provides delicious, authentic Indian cuisine in a comfortable atmosphere and reasonable prices. Their menu is a great mix of recognizable, classic dishes and a few house special that they pour their creativity and spices into.
Check out their menu here and take a peek for yourself!