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Tag Archives: Baluchis
Baruch students rarely find themselves on 3rd Avenue, unless they’re grabbing a drink at Fitzgerald’s, but next time you’re down to your last $10, you might want to consider skipping happy hour and heading across the street to Baluchi’s. The small Indian restaurant serves its entire menu at a 50% discount from 12pm to 3pm.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a classy Indian setting, Baluchi’s might not be the place for you. The half price discounts are well paired with the tacky ceiling lamps, which I imagine were bought at half price as well. If you try not to get distracted by the lamps, you can actually focus on the menu. With two categories for appetizers (Regular and Vegetarian) and five categories for entrees (Chicken, Lamb and Goat, Seafood, Vegetarian and Tandoori), there’s something for everyone.
Personally, the Samosas ($6.95), were my favorite thing on the menu. The appetizer comes with two fried dumplings filled with peas, chick peas and potatoes. It was a perfect mixture of doughy and crunchy, but I’m also partial to anything that’s fried.
I wasn’t quite as taken by the entrées. I was split between one I liked and one I hated, but I’ll start with the good news first. The Chicken Tikka Masala ($15.95) was excellent served in a tomato and cream sauce. It wasn’t too spicy, but provided just enough kick to tantalize my taste buds. The sauce doubled as a dip for the Garlic Naan I ordered on the side, which is fluffy bread seasoned with garlic. The only thing that didn’t thrill me about the dish was its size. It was considerably small compared to the entrée sizes of other Indian restaurants I’ve been to. It also didn’t come with rice, which I assumed was a given, and I had to order rice separately.
Now for the bad news. The Goan Shrimp Curry ($15.95) was a disappointment. The menu describes the dish as “cooked with sautéed onions, lime juice, spices and fresh coconut milk”. With all those exquisite ingredients, I was shocked that I couldn’t taste a single one. I’m sure there will eventually be a word to describe food that tastes like Styrofoam, but for now I’ll use the term bland. I found myself doing a lot less savoring and a lot more swallowing to get through the dish and on to dessert.
I wish I could say dessert saved the day, but alas, I was disappointed once more. The Rasmalai ($4.95) was another dish that looked great on the menu, but didn’t translate well from paper to plate. It consisted of two soft cheese patties, which were poached in a condensed milk sauce. The patties were completely flavorless and cold. In fact, the only thing I could taste was the condensed milk sauce, which was basically milk with sugar.
When the check came, I found that with the discount, I paid about $10 for a three course meal. For lunch, I’d say it was a good deal and I might go back for the Samosas and Chicken Tikka Masala, but I definitely wouldn’t go back for dinner and pay full price. $15.95 is way too pricey for entrées that tiny.
How can walking into a cozy, inexpensive restaurant for lunch feel as if I am royalty eating at the Taj Mahal? Baluchi’s, an Indian restaurant located on 25th St. and 3rd Ave., is not what you expect when first looking at its facade. Actually, you would probably pass by it on your way to somewhere else. However, the experience of Baluchi’s happens as soon as you enter the place.
Baluchi’s, whose name comes from the Baloch people who originated from Iran, benefits as a petite restaurant by having a wait staff that can be more attentive. Each time, someone was waiting to open the door to welcome us in and show us to our cushioned red seats as well as to hold the door open as we left. Natural lighting and
light from the colorful hanging lamp shades provided a relaxing atmosphere along with the Indian music softly playing in the background. Twice there was an unclean glass or plate, but the waiter or waitress was more than glad to replace them if we or they themselves noticed it.
And that is already receiving a lot when an entire meal can cost less than $30 and for lunch the meals are 50 percent off.
Another interesting practice of the restaurant is how the food is served. Unlike other restaurants that serve you on a plate, Baluchi’s uses mini-pot-like bowls for the entree and rice. At first glance the small portion sizes do not look filling, but surprisingly I was full after each meal.
Now what comes to mind when you think of Indian food — spicy– and what spice in particular– curry! I am of West Indian descent, so I have had plenty of contact with curry and in result use it as a tester in both West Indian and East Indian restaurants. The restaurant gets brownie points if they can cook curry seafood, my favorite, well.
Baluchi’s Shrimp Curry ($15.95), which is in the seafood entree section, passed my test. It is comprised of shrimp cooked with curry spice, onions and tomato sauce and served with Basmati rice. I have had curry in the past that was too strong; it tasted salty and was too thick. But this one was the right blend of sweet and tangy, which was probably due to the tomato sauce cutting in on the flavor.
The Chicken Tikka Masala ($13.95), which is in the curries entree section, is a dish of “boneless chicken chunks simmered in
tomato and cream sauce.” The only time I have heard of Masala was from the 1991 film Mississippi Masala, starring Denzel Washington and Sarita Choudhury. So, it caught my attention and like the shrimp curry, it was not overwhelmingly spicy or sharp in taste. It had a hint of sweetness and was not so creamy that it would be hard too swallow. With the $7 potato and chick pea Samosa appetizer and Nan bread, I was satisfied for the rest of the day.
Next time, I’ll try the catfish curry or the quail. As I said looking at Baluchi’s menu, so much tempting food and only one stomach.