Sun-Thu, 11:30am-10:30pm; Fri-Sat, 11:30am-11:30pm
A, C, E at 42nd St.-Port Authority Bus Terminal
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
35th St. to 55th St., Sixth Ave. to Eleventh Ave.
Don’t be frightened by the colorful Balinesian tribal mask with its bulging eyes and grotesque teeth at Bali Nusa Indah. The cuisine at one of Manhattan’s few Indonesian restaurants is anything but scary; typical treatments use coconut milk liberally, and food-enlivening flavorings include palate-pleasing chiles, coriander, garlic, pepper, lemongrass, tamarind, and ginger. But at this elegantly casual eatery beginners need to know only one word: rijsttafel (rice table). The procession begins with a silky chicken broth, with bits of chicken, rice noodles and slices of hard-boiled egg and lemon. A refreshing mixed salad follows, anointed with a light peanut dressing, and then succulently tender barbecued chicken satay. Finally, the main event: a mound of rice paired with six assorted meat, fish, and vegetable dishes. Lamb curry is fork-tender and well-spiced. Beef simmered in coconut milk and chilies is slightly chewy, but satisfying. Red snapper filet in a spicy soy bean sauce is vibrant and not too incendiary, stir-fried shrimps with string beans less flavorful. The real winner is the sautéed eggplant, its meaty slices doused in chili sauce. Individual selections include broiled, barbequed, or stir-fried chicken and beef, with chili, peanut, curry, or rich soy sauces; harmoniously paired with seafood are lemongrass, black bean, and chili sauces.Recommended Dishes
Traditional Indonesian rijsttafel, $27; perkedel jagung, $4.95