North Meets South
37-33 74th St., Jackson Heights
Hours: Sun-Thurs 11:30am to 10:15pm; Fri-Sat 11:30am to 10:45pm.
Credit Cards: Yes
There's a lot to discuss at the Delhi Palace. This beautiful restaurant is serious about options and combines north and south Indian food in their authentic form. The menu may be intimidating for someone not well versed in Indian food, but the staff is happy to help navigate you through the curries, the meats, the breads and the vegetarian options. With such quality ingredients, you can't go wrong.
The concept of the Delhi Palace is to combine different types of Indian food in one place. Southern Indian food is prepared with a lot of coconut milk, exotic spices, Indian curry leaves and mustard seeds.
The highlight of the southern Indian food was the dosa, which is a large crepe made from coconut milk filled with a variety of meats and vegetables. These light pockets are the perfect vehicle for the Delhi's Palace's rich spices and complex flavors, and my guest and I am could not stop until the entire dosa was gone.
Northern Indian food is probably more familiar to a New Yorker and includes such chicken dishes as the Murg Hara Masala, the Murg Balchao and the lamb-based Gosht Vinaloo. The Hara Masala is a green mixture of unique spices and is a must taste. Likewise, the Balchao, which is chicken cooked in coconut milk and sauce, sautéed with curry leaves, dry chilies and mustard seeds, is a requirement.
The meat filled bread we tried was called Keema Paratha and it reminded my guest and I of the variety of naan (Indian bread) that we could chose from. The bread is traditionally used to scoop the rest of the food, but it is a treat in itself.
We stuffed ourselves with the boneless Murg Kabuli Tikka, which is chicken on a skewer that has been cooked over charcoal with onions, spices and lemon. This minimalist dish is a nice counterpoint to the rich, warm spices of the saucier dishes.
For vegetarians, there is a plethora of options, but lets focus on one: the Kadai Bhindi Masala. If you like okra, do not miss this dish, which consists of that infamous vegetable cooked with herbs and spices in a traditional fry pan. If you haven't had the best experience with okra, this dish will change your mind if anything could - the okra has no hint of its sometimes slimy and flavorless incarnations. Instead, it features a dry and smoky curry quality and has a crisp texture somewhere between eggplant and zucchini.
By the end of the meal, we were too full to adequately sample the sweet shop, but the variety available combined with the top quality of the preceding meal made it just one more reason to come back to the Delhi Palace time and time again.
One hint: if you order a lassi, ask to have it without ice.