Daily, 11:30am-2:45pm and 5pm-10:30pm
N, Q, R, W at 57th St.; 1, A, B, C, D at 59th St.-Columbus Circle; B, D, E at Seventh Ave.
American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
42nd St. to 80th St., First Ave. to Twelfth Ave.
Benares is named for one of South Asia’s holiest cities and created with the help of celebrated Tamarind chef Peter Beck and former Baluchi’s svengali Inder Singh. The décor tries for upscale with lovely tapestries and faux Tiffany lighting. Menu-wise, a focus on unusual seafood options and regional specialties hint at the spot’s culinary cred. Openers include both the expected (sweet, crunchy, slightly dry potato kachoris) and the pleasantly surprising (pan-fried, ginger-flecked scallops over green chile; and a pile of truly luscious crab milagu colored by roasted peppers and a subtle tomato-garlic sauce). However, the rich, oily essence of malai kofta veggie carries no discernable kick, while the Banarsi dal, a hearty red lentil/chickpea stew accented by its clarified butter base, suffers from slight garlic overload. But the kitchen isn’t afraid to rework the classics: among its most satisfying entrees is a dense lamb rogan josh lightly flavored with cardamom, anise, and paprika. Another distinguisher: a foreign beer/fussy cocktail lineup, including the rye-based “Newer Old Fashioned,” made with orange and cherry bitters.Recommended Dishes
Lamb rogan josh, $16