A hip stage for modern American with an Indian edge.
33 W. Eighth St., near MacDougal (212) 677-3833
Dinner, Mon.-Sun., 5:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m.
CUISINE Indian-inflected American
VIBE Hip Village haunt
OCCASION Bar dining; downtown date
DON’T-MISS DISH Crispy pig’s feet; fried quail.
PRICE Appetizers, $9-16; entrees, $18-25; desserts, $7.
From the looks of it, you would never know there is a well-trained
chef hustling in the kitchen at Eletteria, a restaurant that just
debuted in Greenwich Village.
Floating doors, cropped paintings and a fake staircase suggest a
funhouse for frivolous culinary affairs. So does the audience, a hip,
young crowd who tend to flock to the newest restaurants for sport.
a deep-fried quail suggests serious pleasures. When skin this crisp
gives way to such wondrously sweet meat, you don’t debate the merits of
frying. It’s perfectly paired with a fried quail egg, bacon and
This appetizer is the handiwork of chef Akhtar Nawab, who spent a year cooking at pan-European gastropub E.U.
Eletteria is his latest project, a joint venture with partner Noel Cruz;
they met while working at Craftbar. This is an entirely different
script for this chef. Seizing upon his heritage, Nawab paints a modern
American menu with a palette of Indian seasonings. A tasty bavette
steak gets a unique lift from a fragrant fenugreek powder. Ethereal
strands of crabmeat are bolstered by coriander, cilantro and
Eletteria, which is Latin for green
cardamom, pays homage to cardamom in several dishes. An entrée of duck
comes thinly sliced and fanned out over a savory keema – a mix of
ground duck, raisins and onions. Cardamom is woven into a fragrant
cocktail, labeled the “8th Wonder,” which marries a cardamom
chai-infused bourbon with lemon, sweet vermouth and soda.
are inventive riffs on traditional Indian dishes. Instead of a kebab,
lamb takes the shape of a cumin-spiced sausage on a stick. It’s
partnered with an addictive raita made with mint and shredded cucumber.
Even better is a braised pig’s foot stuffed with basmati and puffed
rice, then showered with toasted cashews. Nawab also conceives a light,
new-fangled variation of “mattar paneer,” a popular staple of Indian
cuisine. He swaps paneer cheese for ricotta, which gets molded into
doughy nuggets and served above carrots, peas, and a mild curried
At times his revisionist cooking falters, as was
the case with steamed rice cakes over an overly salty mixture of
lentils and tomatoes. A fillet of fluke was tarnished by a musty
coconut-tapioca sauce that soured the fish’s flavor. And other than a
flanlike rasmali with silky cardamom anglaise, desserts were
This would be an opportune time to order a potent “Kentucky Firing Squad”
cocktail with a feisty kick of tamarind. Especially if you’re seated in
the middle strip of the dining room, which can feel like you’re dining
on a busy thoroughfare during rush hour. Instead, request one of the
more spacious banquettes where you can catch this inspired dinner
In the 1960s, Jimi Hendrix
headlined in this space. Now chefs are post-millennium rock stars and
Nawab’s Off-Broadway production delivers pleasurable fare with a
distinctly Indian edge.