New York is finally starting to come out of its winter fog and is entering a proper restaurant opening season (see: Café Altro Paradiso, Russ & Daughters Uptown, La Sirena). Joining that list this week is Indian Accent, a New Delhi-based restaurant that is India's sole callout on the S.Pellegrino list of the 50 Best Restaurants in Asia. Chef Manish Mehrotra describes his cooking as "inventive Indian; traditional recipes done in a modern way with slightly more global restaurants."
For him, that means menu items like duck Chettinad with foie gras, silken tofu kofta with quinoa pulao and beef kebabs with bone marrow curry. While about two-thirds of the menu comes from the original location, Mehrotra says he developed the rest of the dishes, like kulchas stuffed with pastrami and mustard, with New York in mind. Serving beef is also new for the team, which he abstains from in Indian out of respect for local customs.
Some things, however, will come directly from home. "We really wanted an Indian salt for our dishes . . . and a few spices and spice mixes," he says. So Mehrotra will be sourcing them from India along with a "few vegetables like jackfruit and Indian okra."
Though New York has no lack of Indian restaurants, what Mehrotra is doing sounds more inventive than any Indian restaurant opening we've seen in some time. Last summer, he told Florence Fabricant, "The Indian food you have here is traditional and not as evolved as in India."
So let the evolution begin.