6 at Astor Pl.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Canal St. to 20th St., Ave. C to Fifth Ave.
Around the corner from Little India’s restaurant row, Indian Curry Mahal serves familiar northern dishes and enlivens its close quarters with Christmas lights, murals of village scenes and the Taj Mahal, and lilting Hindi love songs. But the eager Bangladeshi owners know how to please their primary customers: Cash-strapped college kids, residents looking for a quick delivery fix, and casual diners who wander in. Complimentary helpings of papadam and rice pudding bookend a meal, and prices are tough to beat. Delivery and takeout orders include a special $17 appetizer and entrée combo. The kitchen is equally generous. Shrimp tandoori combines six jumbo clay oven-cooked pieces in a savory marinade of coriander, ginger, garlic, cardamom, and chile for kick. Chicken tikka makhani, a variation of the more common masala, offers tender cubes simmered in a heavy cream sauce accented (though not quite enough) by almond and tomato. Also worthwhile are a plate of chana chat—chickpeas and potatoes in a sweet, refreshing glaze—and a basket of fluffy, garlic-covered naan.Recommended Dishes
Shrimp tandoori, $18.95