Sometimes I find it hard to actually define the term "fine dining". Is it a table cloth with silverware, fine china and crystal?
Maybe it's a restaurant that overcharges its customers for the nouveau style cuisine it serves. I am not complaining here; I mean I am really thankful to be
able to partake in the finer things this city has to offer. And I'm especially grateful to be writing about the best restaurants in New York.

The point I am trying to make is I am not a food critic. The idea is actually abrasive to me. In my opinion, most critics are people who could never actually
get their chosen profession right but they have a flair with the written word which allows them to go out to restaurants or films and cast their "grand"
opinions so that the masses have something to base their selections on.
And who am I to judge? That's my modus operandi. But If I am going to write about a restaurant or a travel destination, then I am going to try to be honest
and forthright in sharing what an establishment has to offer.   

Tamarind, located in New York City's Flatiron district, is a restaurant that I would define as a "fine dining experience".
I comprise this deduction based on several elements: the quality of the food, the atmosphere, the interior design, and the service among many other
things. Tamarind culminates all these elements and provides its diners with cool, luxurious and tasteful surroundings to enjoy a mixture of India's finest
delicacies.

After waiting for a few minutes at the busy bar in the front of the restaurant, we were escorted to the main dining room in the back of the spacious 4500
square foot space.  The skylight above us cast a romantic ambient light; The silk custom light fixtures, mahogany booths, and Indian artifacts and fabrics
adorning the walls set the mood for an exotic culinary excursion.


We started with appetizers: Rahjis Rahjistani Sooley-- grilled lamb marinated in lemon and garlic, Aloo Tikkiyas-- spicy potato cakes served with tamarind
and mint chutney, and Vegetable Samosas-- crispy turnovers with seasoned potatoes and green peas.

We then tried the Lobster Masala, (keyword lobster!!!) I don't know about you but this was the first time I had tried lobster Indian style and it was
delicious!! Of course we had to try two of my favorite Indian dishes, the Chicken Tikka Masala and the Saag Paneer, cheese with spinach and ground
spices. These were coupled with Lemon Rice-- lemon flavored basmati rice with curry leaves and mustard seeds--and steamed Basmati rice accompanied
by garlic Nan bread and Kheera Raita, yogurt with grated cucumber.

It seems the owner of Tamarind, Avtar Walia, is a multi-talented man. He has an eye for aesthetics and knows how to bring a new and exciting twist to
some traditional Indian menu items that are sure to raise an eyebrow or two. (I think I noticed a few stuffy old timers pull out their monocles when taking a
look at this impressive menu). Mr. Walia has introduced his customers to a wide range of unique, seductive spices and unusual ingredients, and his expert
chefs have used these ingredients to create some of the best Indian food this city has to offer.

Lastly, I think its important to mention the hospitality factor and the feeling of being right at home. Mr. Walia and Mark, our host who is from Queens NY,
and was as down to earth as they come, make Tamarind a very special fine dining experience.

In a city filled with amazing Indian restaurants, Tamarind is number one in my book.
The New York Optimist
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