I am not sure why I never posted about my Thanksgiving dinner in 2016 but I was thinking about this dinner and going back to the restaurant. While I was deciding, Peter has generously paid for my dinner there this year. So it will be nice to compare the two dinners. (Looking back at the fall 2016 posts, I was very busy – Fall for Dance, The New Yorker Festival, Open House New York, back to NY City Center, and various concerts – maybe I was so busy I missed more than one post. Sometimes I cannot believe I used to run around so much.) So here is the 2016 post:
My original plan was to eat at the restaurant that always disappoints but then I decided to ignore my budget and have a South Asian themed Thanksgiving meal at Indian Accent, one of the restaurants in Le Parker Meridien Hotel.
The subway steps and sidewalk had confetti all over them from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – shaped like turkeys, leaves, and snowflakes. I was there a few minutes after they opened – there were already families at two of the tables. For most of the time I was there the clientele was South Asian with a few non-Asians customers. Dress went from very dressed up to jeans and t-shirts. I sat at the bar and was alone for most of my meal. Jazz played over the sound system.
The host immediately complimented me on my hat (no, not the Pilgrim cap) and later the bartender complimented my dress. I like a restaurant that understands being in the service industry. Sometimes it feels like a lost art.
I started with a cocktail called an Indian Autumn – cardamon infused Pisco with chamomile yogurt whip and lemon sherbet. It was deeelicious. Back when we had ISLCon in NYC, I had researched what wines go well with spicy foods (I know most people prefer beer with Indian food but I don’t like beer) and Rieslings were the choice. Their wine menu had two Rieslings and one Gewürztraminer, so I asked the bartender about the differences between the three and settled for the Weingut Keller Riesling because it wasn’t too sweet or too dry.
The waiter brought out two amuse-bouche – two teeny tandoor breads stuffed with blue cheese and one teeny cup of pumpkin coconut soup that I forgot to take a photo of. They were so good. And the only things that were served piping hot. The rest of the menu was served warm or lukewarm, which didn’t affect how I felt about the food. I thought most everything was great.
First appetizer was a roasted sweet potato chaat that was served with fried okra and on top of sheer thin disks of some type of vegetable with a drop of tamarind sauce. Second was sweet pickled ribs, where the meat fell off the bone. And third was duck khurchan matthi. The matthi is a crispy bread that was wrapped around like a cone and the duck khurchan (duck roasted in masala and smeared with duck liver butter and chilli chutney) was stuffed inside. On top was a piece of foie gras. I made the mistake of taking a spoonful of the khurchan with the foie gras and the foie gras was overwhelmed – I should have eaten that separately. The cone was standing up in a glass of crispy moong dal that had some heat.
The entrée and sides arrived on a silver platter and while one waiter held the platter the other put each dish in front of me. I thought it would be a choice of two or three sides but I got all six sides. It was a lot of food. The roast turkey was rolled up and stuffed with paneer, which I had my doubts about but it was very good. The cumin maple potatoes were also very good as were the chilli bacon string beans with golden peanuts. The slow-cooked rutabaga in kashmiri korma was good for the first two bites and then I decided I wasn’t that big a rutabaga fan. The khichdi (dal and rice porridge) with kale and house-made butter was definitely my least favorite. I’m not a kale fan at all and that might have been the flavor I didn’t like. There were two breads – a tandoori turkey, cranberry, sage butter kulcha that I probably would have liked better without so much sage and an herb and jalapeño makki roti (made with corn flour so I had my corn bread with jalapeños).
I had to take a huge breather after that. Then they brought the two desserts. Doda barfi treacle tart with vanilla bean ice cream (the tart was hot temperature wise) Doda barfi is a dense milk based sweet confection with peanuts, so with the treacle it was super sweet and much sweeter than I like my desserts. There was a rose petal and cookie on top of the ice cream. The other was a rice kheer with caramelized pecan, which was also dotted with flower petals. I definitely preferred the rice pudding. With dessert I had the Muscat.
Over all the meal was worth the price and if I were rich I’d go back to try their regular dinner. Some things were too fussy. It took forever to make the cocktails because of all the ingredients. I watched one cocktail where the ingredients were poured into an old metal cup with a long handle and set on fire. Then two sugar cubes were placed on top of the shaker and lit and the liquid was poured from the cup into the shaker through the flaming sugar cubes. The cubes were discarded and then the liquid was shook up and placed in a coupe champagne glass. And some of the plates were just ridiculous in size or shape.
By Carene Lydia Lopez