Here’s My Vote For The Best Innovative Indian Restaurant in NYC
I have a tough time finding good Indian restaurants in NYC. They’re all mostly North Indian, heavy, and honestly, not that interesting. There is only so much chicken tikka masala and saag paneer I can stomach.
That was until, one day my twin sister suggested Graffiti Food & Wine Bar, an eclectic Indian fusion restaurant in the East Village. This ain’t your grandma’s Indian food. It’s not traditional. But, maybe that’s why I love it. Fusion used to mean a blend of two things, but New Yorkers are such overachievers, so now it’s a four cuisine extravaganza. The mix of Indian, Asian, French and American flavors blew my mind. I’ve been there, um, six times — more than any other restaurant in NYC. Here’s my suggestions.
Green Mango Paneer ($9) — this reminds me of my childhood. I love the distinct tanginess of the green mango pickle mixed with the subtle flavor of paneer.
Pickled Ginger Scallops, Candied Red Chili ($12) — thinly sliced scallops topped with candy chili. Heaven in your mouth.
Cumin eggplant buns ($17) — my all-time favorite. I love buns (ha). Seriously, I do but get sad because they rely on mostly pork and beef (which I don’t eat). This — a doughy bun with rich flavors of cumin eggplant — is divine.
Yes, I generally eat two desserts. Don’t judge me.
Hazelnut Chocolate Caviar Cupcake with Chocolate Ice Cream — Chocolate + Chocolate + Chocolate = 🙂
PS- the ‘caviar’ is chocolate.
Warm Truffle Almond Strawberries with Pepper Ice Cream
The mixtures of flavors here are downright bizarre, but TOTALLY work.
Graffiti is a tiny joint (5 tables) so don’t be surprised if you are literally rubbing elbows with the diner next to you. Expect to have conversation with table mates — sometimes you just can’t avoid it. Some people hate how cramped this place but, to me, it’s cozy.
Pro-tip: check out the second dining room, adjacent to the main restaurant. It’s one long table — maybe seats 15 or so. When I have something to celebrate, this is where I’m going to eat, drink and be merry.
Doesn’t get simpler than this. Menu is split between $9, $12, and $17 items. Wine is either $12 or $14 a glass. The reasonable price would make any NYer happy.
Service (& Chef Jehangir Mehta)
When I first started going to Graffiti, I would regularly see Chef Mehta. When my cousin was visiting from the corn fields of Iowa, he gave her a free t-shirt. I think these days he’s too busy, but no worries, the service is spot on. I recognize servers from years ago — if that’s not loyalty, I don’t know what is.
Go. You won’t regret it.
Graffitti Food & Wine Bar $$
224 E 10th St, b/t 1st Ave & 2nd Ave
Suma also has a favorite NYC coffee shop. Guess where. (come on, guess before you click!)