Tired of consuming the same tired flavors for lunch every day? IndiKitch, a fresh, fast casual Indian eatery, serves up an affordable lunch menu that will surely put your standard PB&J to shame. While by no means transcendent, the food at IndiKitch fulfills a gap that somehow still exists on the New York lunch scene for well-rounded, filling, tasty meals at reasonable prices. For $10, you can buy yourself a “Feast” of daal, salad, rice, and a main dish with a sizeable portion of naan on the side. The portions don’t seem particularly substantial, but by the time you finish all 5 components of the Feast, you find yourself satisfied, if not stuffed. This is, of course, what portions are meant to be in the first place, but it takes some adjusting if you are at all accustomed to the great American restaurant tradition of eating all you can eat and then some.
The classic daal is remarkably smooth, rich in flavor, and light considering the ingredients. Its only downfall is that you’ll finish it within two or three spoonfuls. The rice selection includes basmati, brown, and saffron. It’s cooked to a pleasing texture, though not incredibly flavorful so it’s best when mixed in with the daal. The ‘side salads’ are somewhat of an afterthought, as eating half a handful of shredded carrots or beets isn’t going to do you a lot of good, but it does add another dimension to the colors and textures of the Feast.
When it comes time to choose the main part of your Feast, there are three options for carnivores: chicken tikka, pulled pork vindaloo, and goan fish. Vegetarians can choose from paneer tikka, mushroom kadai, and saag paneer, and all dishes are available spicy. It’s a subtle, slow-burning type of spice, not meant to immediately burn your face off. Again, the portions aren’t huge but they’ll do in the grand scheme of the plate (or container, as it were). The naan, on the other hand, is served in full-sized portions in your choice of original, wheat, or garlic.
Also on the menu are Biryani, Tawa Sandwiches, and a fairly complex creation called “Live Fire Salads” involving your choice of main, masala spices, romaine lettuce, coriander pesto, and naan chips. That’s a whole lot of flavor in one bowl, but it sure beats a garden salad with wilted lettuce from the corner deli.
All in all, IndiKitch isn’t the gastronomical embodiment of nirvana. But it’s good, fresh, flavorful food, and perhaps it isn’t necessary to have an out-of-body experience every time you eat your lunch. Perhaps lunch should, at minimum, nourish you so that you can successfully go on with your day, and hopefully excite you enough with its flavors and textures that you have something to look forward to in the morning. IndiKitch manages to do that at reasonable prices, with fresh ingredients, and with a confident sense of style.
IndiKitch is located at 25 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010