For a while I’ve been on the hunt for a “desi” restaurant which gives the Indian flavor with the New York vibe. Most Indian restaurants in the U.S seem to be dated and make you feel like you are in a small town in the 1950s India. Making them dull and definitely un-romantic. After a few recommendations from friends, I went with a somewhat skeptical mind-set to Baar Baar. Located downtown, on a quiet street, I entered on a Thursday evening to a buzzing bar scene and jazz music in the background.
The place is adorned with soft jewel toned furniture and a bar larger than most New York restaurants can boast about. First off, we started with the cocktails, which included everything from the traditional Indian Imli (tamarind) to the hot green chillies. But the one that brought me back to the Indian summers I spent as a kid in Delhi was the “Aam Paana” (raw mango) cocktail. Cooling and not to sweet, this drink was my choice for the night.
The cocktails were so yummy that we could have gone on without eating…until we saw one of the servers transporting a hot “kulcha” (puffed bread) to the table next to us. The varieties of Kulchas from Green Peas & Truffle, to jalapenos & cheese along with interestingly curated chutneys (dips) were enough to fill our tummies, but of course now we wanted more! We tried almost every veggie dish on the menu, from the Paneer Pinwheels to the Tandoori Cauliflower to the Black daal that gave me a run for my signature creamy lentil that I’m most known for amongst my friends. According to me, if a restaurant can get the traditional “Maa Ki Daal” right, half the battle is won.
What this restaurant has successfully accomplished is the way they serve entrées in appetizer sized portions, making it possible to try a variety of dishes from the menu without being over stuffed. This unconventional Indian tapas style restaurant is giving the rest of them a run for their money. From the ambience to the friendly owners, it has won my heart (and my belly)…