Mon-Thu: noon-3pm, 5pm-11pm; Fri-Sat: noon-midnight, Sun: noon-10pm
6 at Astor Pl.; F at Second Ave.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Malai Marke, Hindi slang for “extra zing,” is more modern than most Indian restaurants on Curry Row in the East Village. Mason jars are used for water, and repurposed wood drawers and metal bowls from India hang neatly on the wall. Dishes are served in white ceramic pots, and customers seated at the bar are close enough to the open kitchen to see water boil. The restaurateur behind Singapura, Chote Nawab, and Dhaba curates a traditional menu that's accented with vegan options and small grilled kebabs. Creamy chicken tikka masala is warm and comforting, and lamb madras, made with fresh coconut and dry red chilies, gives off flicks of heat. Fluffy naan is some of the best on the block and is divine when dipped in malai marke daal—small black lentils cooked with clarified butter. Though shrimp curry—just a few puny shrimp sitting in a pool of tomato-and-onion-based sauce—is bland, the simple Punjabi cabbage is crisp and refreshing, an unlikely winner.Recommended Dishes
Lamb Madras ($16), malai marke daal ($11)