"I don't like Indian food in New York," says English expat Christopher Sell.
"It lacks flavor." Especially in comparison with the Birmingham balti, the
stir-fry that emerged with that city's mid-seventies influx of Pakistani
immigrants. Named for the cast-iron pan it's cooked in and served
traditionally with nan bread instead of cutlery, the balti has become as
inherently British as fish and chips. So it makes perfect sense that Sell
would open the CurryShop directly next door to his ChipShop, advancing his
one-man British invasion of Park Slope. The mix-and-match menu invites
diners to pair five meat or vegetable selections with five sauces, from
creamy korma to hot vindaloo, plus appetizers that include another English
innovation coronation chicken salad.
383 Fifth Avenue
Park Slope, Brooklyn
· Cuisine: Indian
Mad Tea Cup
One thing you can't help noticing while visiting the new Burberry store is
the customers' loyalty. Even while shopping for new Burberry (plaid hair
scrunchies, motocross jackets, socks), they wear old Burberry (scarves,
pants, hats). Presumably by demand, then, the store's third-floor Mad Tea
Cup, a communal tea table run by the folks at Alice's Tea Cup, features a
custom "Burberry blend" black tea and everything that goes with it:
heartier-than-usual finger sandwiches like lapsang souchong chicken, pumpkin
scones, peanut-butter-chocolate-chip cookies, a terrific
mocha-chocolate-chip cake, even a kids' menu. It's a good place to
contemplate an impulse buy, like that Burberry-plaid skateboard.
9 East 57th Street
· Cuisine: American, tea
Thalassa brings the Greek-fish-market formula popularized at Milos and
knocked off by Avra and Trata, where Thalassa chef Gregory Zapanti used to
work to Tribeca. But this soaring, mosaic-tile-and-sailcloth-clad duplex
(whose name means "the sea") has a built-in advantage: It's owned by a
family of Greek-food importers with a line on seriously succulent olives and
estate-bottled oils who've even built a cheese cave in the basement. The
day's catch is displayed over ice and priced per pound; if you'd rather the
bill didn't come as a surprise (or a shock), opt for something off the
regular menu, like arctic char with artichoke-fava fricassee, seafood
risotto, or lamb shanks braised in red wine.
179 Franklin Street
· Cuisine: Greek
The low-ceilinged, stucco-walled room evokes Arizona 206, but the wine list,
full of interesting New World selections, is a happy surprise in a place
that visually prepares you for a margarita onslaught. The whimsical menu,
too, breaks the mold with unexpected combinations like mole-braised short
ribs with jalapeño gnocchi and "Santa Fe shepherd's pie of chili mac
and Iggy's jack."
140 Seventh Avenue South
· Cuisine: Tex-mex
If at first it doesn't succeed: Ethiopian-Eritrean fare didn't fly in the
overfed Flatiron district, so Caffè Adulis has reconceived itself as a
French restaurant with global accents, a concept that doesn't sound as
foreign. Bye-bye, injera; hello, goat-cheese-eggplant terrine and
fig-and-almond-crusted rack of lamb. •
39 East 19th Street
· Cuisine: French, Global
The little Village cheese shop that could has branched out with a
European-style kiosk at the bustling Grand Central Market, a boon for
commuters and midtown office workers in search of a perfectly ripe Reblochon
or a hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Grand Central Terminal
Dairy king Terrance Brennan has filled the void Larry "Captain America"
Forgione left when he checked out of the Benjamin hotel. In a modern twist
on the traditional chop house, meat and seafood are accessorized with your
choice of sauces and butters; even the salt-baked potato comes with a
condiment tray. Prime rib and chateaubriand for two are carved tableside.
Plus flaky gougeres, onion soup, and cheeses straight from Artisanal's cave.
565 Lexington Avenue, at 50th Street
· Cuisine: Steakhouse