Boy meets girl on Jdate. They quickly fall for each other, get married and live together for 7 years until the eventual breakup due to rent increase. Or, boy meets girl, and within 20 minutes they cant stand each other and know this is not gonna work. Or, boy meets girl, and he is simply not sure. She seems attractive, potential is definitely there. She got this sexy British Indian accent but the personality is just not a slam dunk match. Perhaps more suited for a friends with benefits role. Indian Accent, the Melania Trump of Indian dining in NYC today, falls closer to that last category. But instead of meeting Melania, you meet Bernadette from Big Bang Theory. There’s potential, but false advertised.
Indian Accent is sprawling but cozy, comfortable, and most importantly quiet. Plenty of room between tables for you server to stand right beside you, with his behind pointing to the other table, without sitting on it. A rarity in NYC these days. It has all the elegant traits from the decor to the furniture, with the service properly restrained and relaxed. Well, until we opened the menu.
By the time I finalized my order, about 20 minutes, three waiter trips later, it felt like I just survived a flight with Harrison Ford. I landed somewhere, I’m not sure where, but I made it. The main culprit is that when you order from the three or 4 course menu, you can order anything you want from any category. Four mains, four apps, four desserts if you want, anything. This flexibility sounds good on paper but it creates a certain level of stress since with this kind of menu you really have no idea how anything is really prepared and tastes like. Just about everything sounds like something interesting you are willing to try. And to add fuel to the fire, while Mrs Z was looking at a new menu, I got a very old one somehow. Mine had a very fine sounding Snapper in it, while hers had scallops.
Just like the name suggests the food is gourmet with an Indian Accent. The free starter of a couple of blue cheese ‘naanlettes’, and a pumpkin soup infused with garam masala was a nice preview of things to come. But the first course of sweet potato shakarkandi and potato sphere chaat was a quick let down. The shakarkandi especially felt a little too heavy on the tongue without enough of a counter. The chaat was more like it but forgettable. BTW, after much deliberation with the great looking cocktails, once I saw they have Hitachino Nest, the old Japanese fave light beer, decision made. While she really liked her Tiki Johnny.
One of the issues I find here is that unless you order uniformly (one app each, one middle course each, etc), the dishes will arrive sort of all over the place including potentially three at once. Hard to fully enjoy the dishes with the thought of a stranded Malcolm in the Middle there still cooking. With that said, the middle course produced the top results by far. Before you get the finger licking awesome crab claws, you are presented with equipment that can be used to search each other’s cavities. I wish there were more than a handful of cauliflower florets though. The pathar beef kebab with bone marrow, although fully cooked had the consistency of foie gras. Very good. And then we attacked Malcolm in The Middle, aka the soy keema with quail egg (top). Like a sick Bolognese ragu with no meat in sight. Perhaps the dish of the night. Bravo we said, that’s more like it. Only to come back to earth.
You get to choose a Kulcha, stuffed bread, filling. The NY Jew in me chose the pastrami with mustard. But after a few bites the jew went “You meshugenah, should have gone with your jewish gut and chose the mushrooms, or just gone with her selection of Chicken butter” One of the joys of marrying a jewish woman is that you dont need to make a decision for the rest of your life. So why start now. The pastrami stuffed naan thing just didnt work for both of us. It works better at Ivan Ramen, a mile away in Gotham West, in the form of pork buns.
For mains we went nuts and got the ghee roast lamb, a deconstructed roti, or make your own Indian tacos if you will. It comes with 4 different chutneys and pickled veggies. The lamb stew was delicious no doubt, and the tacos I experimented with ranged from good to very good. But at the end we couldnt help but wonder if this is just an excellent version of something you can find in the lex/28th vicinity. Her Chicken Kofta was like a cooked flaky ground chicken meatball that didnt wow nor disappointed.
It was a difficult decision to pass on the more talked about makhan malai in favor of the doda barfi treacle tart but one bite out of that and I was like “yeah, still got it! I think”
123 W 56th St (6/7) Midtown West
Rating: Two Z’s (out of 4)
Stars range from Good to Exceptional. Simple as that
Recommended Dishes: crab claws, pathar beef kebab, soy keema, ghee roast lamb