The prominent restaurant Indian Accent in New Delhi is prized as being one of the top restaurants in the world(Top 100 by S.Pellegrino). In addition, Indian Accent has been awarded the title “the best restaurant in India” by many distinguished global publications. This Indian-based restaurant has recently opened a New York City outpost with huge accolades and fanfare. Being of Indian origin, I have grown up with the most delectable Indian food imaginable and have dined at some of the best Indian restaurants throughout India, and around the globe. So as you can imagine, I had high expectations from this restaurant.
India’s chef extraordinaire, Manish Mehrotra, and restaurateur Rohit Khattar have opened this luxurious restaurant in Le Parker Meridien in midtown Manhattan. Chef Mehrotra is the king of the Indian culinary scene and Khattar operates over 40 restaurants around the globe. At the helm they have bought on a dynamic team, Paul Downie from Eleven Madison Park and Sarah Stafford formerly of Cosme. The restaurant is elegantly designed by Khattar’s wife Rashmi and the New York design group of BHDM. The decor is contemporary, glamorous, and has a minimalist touch. The bar is elegant with white marble, gold finishes, and plush velvet chairs.
The food at Indian Accent is spectacularly innovative. Chef Mehrotra has created a menu that elevates Indian cuisine to the highest caliber. The menu is a modern take on Indian food. The flavors are rich yet not overpowering. Chef Mehrotra uses traditional Indian spices with global ingredients to create a modern twist to time-honored classic Indian dishes. Chef Mehrotra creates dishes that are explosive, yet delicate in texture and spice. He experiments with ingredients that are not typically found in an Indian kitchen like pork belly, foie gras, truffles, bacon, and pastrami. He prepares a traditional dosa topped with black truffles and makes Vindaloo with pork belly(vindaloo is traditionally made with lamb). A special item on the menu just for New Yorkers is kulchas made with bacon or pastrami.
The must-haves on the menu are the tamarind sea bass with herb barley and spinach poriyal, the bass was perfectly flaky and served over a bed of thai style coconut curry. Another favorite of mine was the dish mentioned earlier, the paper roast dosa with mushrooms and black truffles. The dosa was prepared crispy to perfection, accompanied by wild mushrooms, water chestnuts, and a touch of black truffles, which created a unique twist to this otherwise traditional dish. My favorite dish of the evening was dessert. The Makhan malai was out of the world, unlike any other Indian dessert I have had in the past. This soft creamy saffron milk pudding was airy, light, delicate, and delicious. It was topped with candied rose, gold petal jaggery brittle, and shaved almonds.
The service was highly attentive, our waiters were observant, perceptive, and extremely knowledgeable about the menu. The cocktails were inventive and delicious, we tried several and everyone was creative, delicious, and had a twist of Indian influence. The wine list is comprehensive and global and complements the menu wonderfully. There is an extensive selection of rieslings and Chenin Blancs that pair precisely with the aromatic, complex, and diverse flavors of the menu.
If you are looking for an Indian restaurant with your standard naan, rice, CTM(chicken tikka masala), and mango lassi, then you are in the wrong place. The dishes at Indian Accent are highly creative and innovative. The dishes are fabulously presented like works of art. Chef Mehrotra stopped by our table to greet us, and brought by a basket of fresh-baked kulchas and naans. He had a wonderful sense of humor and said his dishes don’t need any naan but he thought we may want to lick our plate clean with the naan. Meeting him was an absolute delight and treat, as he was so humble and sincere. I wish him much success in New York City.
Indian Accent is a game-changer for Indian cuisine in New York. After the closing of Tabla, very few Indian restaurants(with the exception of Junoon) have been able to garner the admiration of their diners, but recently there is a mini-revival for Indian food in NYC with the recent opening of Indian Accent, Babuji, and Inday. Try Indian Accent, it will exceed your expectations, as it did mine. If you are a fan of Indian food you will love the cuisine all the more, and if you are not a fan, I am certain Chef Mehrotra will surely convert you.