480 Lexington Avenue,
Phone: (212) 871-6600
The woman behind Vermilion, Rohini Dey, is a force to be reckoned with and what Time magazine dubs, “a culinary superstar.” Following stints as an economist for the World Bank and a consultant at a Chicago financial advising company, Dey, a New Delhi native, was inspired to leave her finance career behind and launch a very novel restaurant concept. Her idea was to celebrate the shared Arabic and Portuguese culinary influences in Latin and Indian regions and the result are dishes, like Duck Vindaloo Arepas and Artichoke Pakoras with Eggplant Coconut Sauce. The drink menu is just as international and unique, featuring a mix of lassis, aguas frescas, and “herb and spice” Latin cocktails. Not to mention that Vermilion’s an unusually sexy restaurant for such seriously ethnic cuisine: The bi-level space is sleekly outfitted with white woven chairs, glossy wood floors and red accents.
The menu is an eclectic (to say the least!) mix of tapas alongside an impressive roster of fresh baked naan and tandoori meats. We like to dabble, so we don’t miss a thing. Start with the Ginger Mint Naan and Tandoori Lamb Chops, then make your way to their signature, Lobster Portuguese, stewed in a Goan gravy, with coconut rice and eggplant chips — an exotic medley of flavors and textures. Whatever you do, don’t miss the Tandoori Skirt Steak with Indian marinade spices, plantain chips, chorizo swiss chard, and a jicama citrus roll. With traces of Mexico, India, and Brazil, it’s an exciting, one of a kind fusion you can’t find anywhere else.