India on the Hudson
In celebration of American independence yesterday, we celebrated with dinner at India on the Hudson. We decided to watch Macy's Fireworks Spectacular from Hoboken, NJ so that we could see the beautiful New York City skyline while the fireworks exploded. And boy, do I mean exploded! If you see fireworks in real life, you see the bright lights flash, followed by streaks of falling color, followed even afterwards by the resounding cracks and booms: as I tried to follow the explosions, I remembered that light travels faster than sound. It was crowded, it was hot and humid as hell, but it was absolutely worth it.
Before the show, though, we had an amazing dinner of Indian food right near the water front at India on the Hudson. This tiny restaurant served us dishes with bold, zesty flavors and has set me on a cravings rampage ever since. They gave us papadum with the usual trio of chutneys and sauces. The papadum had caraway seeds baked in and were perfectly tasty and crunchy on their own, but the onion-mango chutney, mint yogurt sauce, and tamarind sauce give you a wider variety of flavors. Our waiters generously gave us two fist-sized potato samosas on the house. The skin was thick and crispy from being fried but the potato on the inside was tender, lightly curried, and quintessentially samosa-ish.
Finally, my entree was chicken tikka masala: a bowl of orange blobs of chicken floated in an equally orange sauce, speckled with chopped herbs. A mound of basmati rice sat shyly on the side of the plate, just waiting to be soaked with some tikka masala sauce. The chicken tikka masala was honestly like taking a bite of heaven (my idea of heaven, at least). It was different from other tikka masalas I've had before - more tomato-y and less curry-ish - but so thick and somehow creamy! The sauce coated my mouth just enough to dissipate the flavors all around. I greedily scooped spoonfuls of rice into the bowl (I guess backwards in the sense that I didn't pour the sauce into the rice but rather made the rice meet the sauce). Finally, I was done with the rice but had tons of sauce left! What to do?
We also happened to order a mixed dish of naan: plain, garlic, chicken, and potato. When I saw the basket of fluffy, pillowy naan, I still couldn't figure out how naan could be "chicken" or "potato." Turns out they stuff the naan like a pita bread with shredded tandoori chicken or samosa filling. I wasn't such a fan of the tampered-with naan (I'm very much a naan purist) and wasn't willing to try the garlic naan because it glistened with oil and was studded with large pieces of garlic (not romantic). The plain naan was good, but not the best I've had. Also, unfortunately for my stomach, I was getting extremely full (unfortunate for my brain because I still had to quell my craving but couldn't physically eat any more!).
And just when I thought I couldn't eat more, they gave us cute bowls of rice pudding, also free. I LOVE FREE FOOD! And, there's always room for dessert. This rice pudding had the same basmati rice swimming in a lightly-sweetened milky sauce. The rice was al dente (if rice can be al dente) and not as fluffy and bulbous as store-bought rice pudding. It was spectacular, a great palate cleanser, and totally delightful.