Dessert / Ice Cream Shop
37-03 74th St.
On the same street as the famed Jackson Diner and Delhi Palace, tiny Al-Naimat could easily be overlooked. The unremarkable sweets shop in the front looks just like half a dozen others on the block; beyond it is a drab dining room, where Bollywood musicals blare from the small TV in the corner and a buffet that is stocked with plastic cups and Styrofoam plates. But if you pull up a chair and order from the a la carte menu, you'll be rewarded with stunningly spicy and delicious North Indian and Pakistani curries and halal kebabs. The goat curry (gosht kahari) holds tender chunks of falling-off-the-bone meat, flavored with plenty of cilantro and whole dry spices. Achari chicken, cooked in a sauce with pickled vegetables, is potently sour and pungent with mustard oil. Tear into the golden-brown gobi paratha (cauliflower-stuffed flat bread) and you'll find shreds of fresh ginger and slivers of green chile that contribute tongue-searing heat. Even the forlorn-looking buffet has a hidden surprise—a chicken biryani, kept wonderfully moist and flavorful in a sealed rice cooker. If you need to cool your palate, skip the mango lassi, which is gritty with sugar, and order extra raita instead.