Nepalese Indian, the matter-of-factly named restaurant on Seneca just off the Myrtle Ave strip, has been open for 100 days. Congrats on this milestone, neighbors! We stopped by for an early-bird dinner to see how they’re doing — and, naturally, to check up on the issues (good and bad) that we originally reported.
Issue #1: Availability of Menu Items
We said: “Our first choice, lobster tikka masala, wasn’t available”
After 100 days: The lobster tikka masala still wasn’t available during our recent visit — sad, because it sounds delicious.
We said: “Everyone seems to be super-psyched about these traditional Nepalese dumplings (momos), which so far are the only Nepalese menu items that are available.”
After 100 days: Around half of the Nepalese menu items are available now — mostly momos and other stuff that’s a variation on marinated grilled meat. We love grilled meat but we’re especially eager to try samaya baji, thali, and sel roti, so we hope this stuff becomes available soon!
We said: “…it’d be great if the Nepalese menu included descriptions of each dish, because unless you’re Nepalese, you won’t know what anything is.”
After 100 days: This remains a major problem. They need to redesign the Nepalese menu’s layout and include descriptions and pictures of each dish. This would undoubtedly encourage more diners to choose items from the Nepalese menu. Nepalese Indian Restaurant folks: if you’re reading this, please consider making the Nepalese portion of of the menu more appealing. We want to love it!
Issue #2: Quality of Food
We said: “We also liked the samosas.”
After 100 days: Samosas still taste great; plump and non-greasy, they’re filled with potatoes, peas, CASHEWS, and these adorably tiny Indian curry leaves.
We also enjoyed: lamb tikka masala and ginger- and cardamom-studded shrimp biriyani (pictured at the top). And tomato soup with fresh ginger and garlic slivers resembled broth more than soup (we expected cream), but it’d be an excellent base for steamed mussels — and at $3 per bowl, the upcycling would be cost-effective too. Mulligatawny, which we’ve ordered for delivery, was more soup-like than the tomato. Saag paneer (below) was nicely spiced and garnished.
Issue #3: Weird Service
We said: “[The service is] really quite bad (menus, water, ordering our food, and the check all required prodding).”
After 100 days: Good news! It’s much less weird now. They bring water and menus promptly and even remember to come back to take your order. Our server did hover a bit, but we chalk it up to his sincere desire to make our experience pleasant. We tweeted that the restaurant is a bit Seinfeldian, and we stand by that assessment. Delivery is prompt and courteous and they thoughtfully include a free mini-salad with lettuce, tomato, carrots, cucumber, and a lemon slice, all packed in a loose bit of foil.
Issue #4: Decor
A reader said: “I hope they remove the old Chinese Resaurant wall photos and put up some Himalayan scenes along with Tibetan prayer flags.”
After 100 days: The Chinese photos are still up, but we agree that Himalayan scenes would be a nice improvement. Undoubtedly this wouldn’t be cheap to implement, so we’d be happy to see this done during a phase 2 renovation.
Final (For Now) Thoughts and Suggestions
- Overall, the food was great this time and we’ll be going more regularly. It’s better/cheaper than Curry Row, and their pickup/delivery business seems steady so that’s a good sign.
- Once again, and we can’t stress this enough: Make the Nepalese dishes more prominent and appetizing. Include pictures and descriptions!
- They should also get a liquor license or — even better — allow BYOB. Back in December they told us they’d be transferring and preserving previous tenant Golden Star’s liquor license, but that failed to materialize.
- A sad note that we’re in denial about so we’re mentioning it last: We ordered delivery and noticed that they’d used frozen carrots in our mixed vegetable curry. A friend also reported seeing “Asian medley” standards corn and edamame in her vegetable biriyani. Obviously, frozen vegetables are NEVER acceptable at a restaurant, and we truly hope that Nepalese Indian will discontinue this practice. Readers, please help: if you see something (resembling frozen vegetables), say something (to both Nepalese Indian Restaurant and to us, Ridgefood).
Nepalese Indian Restaurant
907 Seneca Avenue [map]
Just ate here last night! I’m really happy with the food they make, though I haven’t had any of the veggie dishes mentioned, and can’t comment on whether or not it’s frozen. The Aloo Gobi was fresh, though.
I would say the service is still pretty “weird,” though! It’s not bad, it’s just…kind of bizarre? I can’t put my finger on exactly why, because it isn’t disinterest or rudeness or being slow, so much as a general kind attitude that feels like it’s from another planet.
Kind of the same deal with getting delivery! Once waited nearly two hours for food to arrive and, despite calling numerous times to find out where the order was (which I had to restate each time I spoke to them), they’d put me on hold for almost 10 minutes and then forget why I’d called.
But none of these things make me dislike this place, at all. Perhaps it’s a situation of beggars not having the freedom to be choosers, but I do genuinely like the food and despite how weird they are, I even like the restaurant itself.
Hopefully this stuff will continually be ironed out, because I’m not sure other people will be as appreciative of the strangeness.
We’ve been ordering from here a lot. The delivery is much more prompt than it was, and it’s great that they are on GrubHub (only because honestly we are so frequently cashless…we’re horrible people in that way.)
I didn’t love the mulligatawny but an all-star dish in our place is the okra bhindi, a wonderful mix of okra and chicken in a curry sauce that isn’t as pumped full of cream (good for me, since I don’t love to have so much dairy.) The okra seems fresh and good, so if you are worried about veggies, get that!
Also, you can get mango lassis delivered! We keep asking after ice cream, which we assume to actually be kulfi, but it hasn’t actually been available yet. Bring kulfi to Ridgewood! I would buy pints – you can’t bring it home from Jackson Heights on the bus without melting it.
Ridgewood Beat HQ still loves the momos, mutter paneer, samosas, and roti we ordered the other day. We don’t order food often, but it came in a reasonable amount of time.
But do want more Nepalese items… Indian food is a dime a dozen (in other neighborhoods anyway)