Jewels Of India
Fresh Meadows, 353-3804
CUISINE: Eclectic Indian
all Halal and including vegetarian.
HOURS: Open seven days a
week. Lunch 12 to 3 p.m.
Dinner Sun.-Thurs. 5 to 10:30 p.m., Fri.& Sat. 5 11 p.m.
PARKING: Metered curbside
until 7 p.m.
CREDIT CARDS: All major
RESERVATIONS: Accepted. Suggested
for large groups.
Its always a
food writers pleasure to visit a newly opened restaurant. Maharani has been open
just a month and has solved most of a new restaurants problems. The staff is
professional and they have a liquor license. The chef, Rafi, confidently delivers eclectic
dishes and the neighbors are beginning to appreciate the exotic Indian dishes. The
restaurant is attractively decorated using small mirrors to form designs including
strutting peacocks and an Indian female dancer.
We started with a
cooling mango lassi a rich combination of mango pulp, yogurt sugar and rose water.
This was accompanied by crisp pappadam wafers dotted with pepper corns and a trio of
spiced dips. Following this was the classic (mildly spiced) Anglo-Indian Mulligatawny soup
($2.25) made with lentils and rice.
We discussed the menu
with our exuberant and knowledgeable host, Arif Azmi, who grew up near Bombay where his
family owned restaurants. Over the years, he has worked with the noted Indian cookbook
writer Madhur Jaffrey in their shared interest in preserving classic Indian dishes. This
experience is reflected in Maharanis menu.
For entrees we shared
a Tandoori Mixed Grill from the charcoal fired tandor. Included were shrimp, chicken and
lamb kabobs and other meats served hot with raw tomatoes and onions. A salad-like side
dish of cut tomatoes and cucumbers accompanied by delicious Raita ($2.50) a
cucumber and yogurt dip was a perfect
complement. Our compliments to Chef Rafi for producing such a savory combination.
NOTE: The menu is
clearly marked for the fiery spiced dishes.