Lately, we’ve been on a serious curry kick. And with all of the new Thai and Southeast Asian restaurants that have opened recently, it’s an exciting habit to pick up. There’s an arsenal of curries that doesn’t begin with Indian and end with Thai. Far from it. There’s Japanese Vietnamese, Malaysian and Korean curries, too. We’ve pulled together a list of our favorites, from milder options like the Berkshire pork cutlet curry at Curry-Ya to a spicy lamb vindaloo at Brick Lane Curry House. Here’s the rest of our picks.
Address: 27 West 24th St., near Broadway
Phone: (212) 490-2900
Restaurants like Tamarind and Devi proved that Indian cuisine can hold its own in the world of fine dining. Last year, Junoon took it to another level with a serious wine list, stunning dining room and innovative menu. The grand setting is outfitted in teak, dripping with candles and lotus blossoms, and even has a reflecting pool. But what earned Junoon its Michelin star is Vikas Khanna’s outstanding cooking, most of which starts in his spice room, where he grounds unique blends daily. (Check it out on your way to the restroom.) One of our favorite dishes on the menu is Junoon’s Duck Tellicherry Pepper, an Indian curry (called Handi). Khannas crisps the duck breast and serves it in a Tellicherry peppercorn sauce from India’s Malabar coast, with curry leaves, coconut milk and tamarind. Junoon’s thoughtfully crafted wine list with 250 labels has plenty of opportunity to pair the perfect wine with this killer curry (Handi).
Address: 64-13 39th Ave., Queens
Phone: (718) 899-9599
Sripraphai is a favorite not just for Woodside locals, but a destination to Thai food worshippers in search of the perfect balance of Thai’s signature, sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavors. (It’s certainly our favorite.) And it’s easy on the wallet, too. It could take months to make a dent in the menu, but we strongly recommend you spend some quality time in the curry section. We’re big fans of Sripraphai’s panang curry with beef, a coconut milk-based curry generously flavored with fresh herbs and chili. While you’re waiting for the main event, tuck into the larb, a citrusy ground beef salad with chili, fresh mint, onion and lots of lime.
Brick Lane Curry House
Address: 306-308 East 6th St., near Second Ave.
Phone: (212) 979-8787
This Indian spot takes its name and inspiration from Brick Lane, the street in East London famous for its cluster of Indian restaurants. Curries are definitely a favorite Indian dish across the pond, so don’t be surprised to find plenty of them on Brick Lane’s menu. This East Village curry join serves one of the spicies curries in the world. Don’t believe us? The chef wears a gas mask to prepare it and Adam Richman faced off against Brick Lane’s Phaal challenge on Man Vs. Food. In fact, people who make it through this Indian curry get a certificate and their name on the website. We’re not really into pain, so we usually opt for the lamb vindaloo, a substantially spicy, but less dangerous offering with a Goan blend of spices. Order some Peshawari Naan, stuffed with nuts, to soak up all that Goan gravy, so you won’t have to leave any behind.
Address: 469 Sixth Ave.
Phone: (212) 675-4295
If you haven’t made your way to Kin Shop yet, you may be wondering exactly what “contemporary Thai” means. Chef Harold Dieterle has put a distinctly modern spin on traditional Thai with a dash of American for good measure. The result is a menu entirely his own with appetizers like a fried pork and crispy oyster salad with peanuts, chili and mint or roasted bone marrow with yellow bean sauce. As for the curries, Dieterle grinds them all in-house, but our top pick is the Massaman curry with braised goat, sweetened with a little fresh pineapple juice. It’s all topped off with mustard greens and diced purple yams, and finished with toasted coconut and fried shallots. We suggest a beer from Kin Shop’s drink menu, like the BeerLao from Laos or the Dupont from Belgium.
Address: 2170 Broadway, btwn 76th & 77th Sts 643 Hudson St., btwn. Horatio & Gansevoort Sts.
Phone: (212) 496-2722 (212) 352-3592
Zak Pelaccio single-handedly thrust Malaysian cooking and its vibrant flavors into the spotlight when he opened his first Fatty Crab in the West Village back in 2005. The biggest hits on the menu are undoubtedly the Chili Crab and the warm pork belly and watermelon salad. Where curry is concerned, the go-to dish is the Nasi Lemak, which translates to “fatty rice,” or rice cooked in coconut milk. A popular breakfast dish in Southeast Asia, Fatty Crab uses a curried chicken leg that’s seared then braised for a blissful nine hours in a mix of lemongrass, ginger, chili, turmeric, fish sauce and coconut milk. It’s plated over coconut Jasmine rice with fried peanuts, spicy pickled cucumbers, and spicy sambal. The final touch? A slow-poached egg, making it one of the best damn curries we’ve had to date. (We’re betting you won’t have room for dessert after this dish.)
Address: 960 Amsterdam Ave., btwn 107th & 108th Sts.
Phone: (212) 280-4575
This Morningside Heights spot remains a sleeper that’s well worth the trip uptown for much more than the usual suspects of the Pad Thai and Tom Yum sorts. Sure, you’ll find Thai staples and kitschy decor, but you’ll also find more interesting and authentic offerings, like a Thai crepe with minced shrimp, coconut and cilantro or a standout daikon cake with egg, spicy soy sauce and bean sprouts. Follow those up with one of Thai Market’s curry, like the grilled salmon in a peppercorn curry sauce or the shrimp green curry, with eggplant, bamboo shoots, chili and basil in coconut milk. It’s got just enough heat to make demand serious attention without that tongue-numbing quality some Thai curries can pack.
Address: 214 East 10th St., near First Ave.
Phone: (866) 602-8779
Thai and Indian cuisine might be the most popular passages to curry in New York, but if you’re craving something different, try a Japanese curry. One of our favorites is Curry-Ya in the East Village and our dish of choice is Curry-Ya’s new baked curry, better known in Japan as Yaki-Curry. In a nutshell, it’s a baked curry gratin, made with everything from seafood to chicken and beef. If that’s not your scene, sample their pork cutlet curry. For starters, it’s made with Berkshire pork, which nearly seals the deal right there. Then, there’s the curry broth made from chicken and oxtail broth, simmered for eight hours. There are nine curries on the menu, all made with the same, addictive curry-laced broth, like chicken or seafood, then choose your spice level and toppings the likes of egg, fried shrimp, or a croquette filled with potato and beef.
Address: 189 Ninth Ave., near 22nd St.
Phone: (212) 242-1900
Lucky for us Sunitha Ramaiah decided to quit her day job as a corporate attorney to feed New Yorkers Indian street food at Bombay Talkie in Chelsea. The dishes are inspired by the home cooking and street eats she grew up on in her native India. There’s an entire menu devoted to “Street Bites” with traditional finger foods, like lamb dosas (a savory crepe made with lentil flour) and kathi rolls, wraps filled with lamb, chicken or vegetables. For purposes of curry, head to the “From the Roadside” menu where you’ll find the chef’s homestyle chicken curry, simmered in a fragrant tomato sauce, that’s seasoned with turmeric, coriander, cumin, chili and garam masala. And the cocktails are as interesting as the food. We liked the Ankur (it means seedling), pomegranate juice, tequila, lime and Cointreau, or the Umrao Jaan (it means unrequited love), a blend of Bombay gin, lime, and saffron syrup.
RG Writer: Donata Calefato