Yuva Midtown230 E.58 St
(Bet 2nd & 3rd Ave)
New York, NY 10022
Yuva NYC Review: Rotten Service; Good FoodWe came out of Yuva in a sullen mood although our meal there was one of the few tasty Indian lunches we've had in New York City.
You see, it was the rotten service at Yuva that got us into a bad mood on our way out.
Awful MargaritasWhen we entered Yuva for lunch the other day, the restaurant was empty and the place hardly had any customers for the entire duration of our visit.
But the lack of many diners at Yuva didn't put us off because we've visited enough Indian restaurants to know that crowds (or lack of it) are never a guarantee of the quality of food.
While we're no strangers to bad service, it's still a mystery to us as to why most Indian restaurants in the U.S. treat their customers shabbily.
At Yuva, we specifically asked our waiter for an ununsual drink listed on the bar menu - Vindaloo Margarita - but the bartender sent our waiter back to inform us that he'd make a different drink. We politely declined. The waiter returned to the bar where we could see the bartender arguing with him.
A few minutes later, our waiter returned but not with the Vindaloo Margarita we ordered. He came with with a green color drink that he identified as the Santa Fe Margarita. When we asked him about the Vindaloo Margarita, he said the bartender wanted us to drink the Santa Fe Margarita instead of the Vindaloo Margarita. No other explanation was provided.
Although shocked and horrified at the arrogant and obnoxious attitude of Yuva's bartender, we decided to give the Santa Fe Margarita a shot. But after one sip of the Santa Fe Margarita, we returned it because it was plain terrible. Way too weak. Our first thought was that Yuva seemed to be running very low on its stock of Tequila.
We requested our waiter to take back that green abomination and again asked for Vindaloo Margarita. However the Vindaloo Margarita that landed on our table turned out to be worse. It had far too much Tamarind syrup and too little Tequila.
At $11 for this vile tasting liquid, it's the biggest rip-off since the Dutch tricked the native American Indians into parting with Manhattan island for $64 of trinkets.
By now we had realized that we were dealing with a bartender who was completely clueless about his job.
So we gave up on Yuva's hopeless bar and focused on our lunch.
Good FoodWe tried a wide variety of dishes at Yuva - appetizers and entrees, vegetarian and non-vegetarian, South Indian and North Indian, Garlic Naan and Onion Kulcha, Chai and desserts. With a few exceptions, we hit the jackpot most of the time.
While the Onion Bhajias could have been crisper, the Lamb Sheekh Kabab was cooked to perfection. Each bite of the Kebab was sheer ecstasy.
Fish Malabar was prepared just right with a nice, medium-thick gravy that gave us much joy. Yuva's Fish Malabar was easily the standout dish in a meal that included several fine items.
While the Tandoori Chicken was satisfying, it was not exceptional.
Chicken Tikka Masala was one of the few disappointments of our meal. Underspiced and with the gravy far too thick than warranted, it was a rare misstep from a kitchen that seems to know and care about what it's doing.
South Indian fare such as Masala Dosa, Uttapam and Idli were a delight too. The petite Uttapams were big and the Idlis light and soft. Unlike Masala Dosas at most restaurants, the Masala Dosa at Yuva had a spicy onion/potato filling inside.
Adding to our pleasure, the Sambar was spicy and flavorful.
One of our favorites at Yuva was the unusual mango-mayonnaise chutney. Have it with either the Idli or Uttapam and you are a winner. Unlike the cold Chutney that most Indian restaurants throw at you, Chutney appeared fresh at Yuva.
Our companions relished the fiery Ginger-Garlic Chutney too.
Chef Dhandu Ram's decision to reintroduce South Indian dishes recently is a wise move. Apparently, problems with the grill had caused him to suspend South Indian items for a while.
On the vegetarian side, we were swept away by the spicy Vegetable Jalfrezi and Kadhai Paneer. We had them with Garlic Naan and Onion Kulcha and it was Nirvana doubled.
Even the humble Dal Makhani showed in its creamy thickness and fine flavor the attention that Yuva's kitchen had bestowed on it.
Clearly Yuva's cooking staff seem to try hard at everything they undertake. And the results are evident in the nice taste of much of what we ate.
Our two desserts Kheer and Seviyan Pudding were treats to the palate.
Masala Tea came with hot milk on the side, something that 99% of Indian restaurants here don't care to provide. What you invariably get is cold milk.
Rotten ServiceWhile we enjoyed Yuva's food, we hated its pathetic service.
Besides the inept bartender, our Bangladeshi waiter's obvious problem in navigating the English language made things a little difficult.
New York City is choc-a-bloc with Indian restaurants. And Yuva faces strong competition in its close vicinity itself. Its Indian neighbors include Chola, Dawat and Ada, all old and established restaurants in New York City.
But for some strange reason, Yuva's management appears to believe good service and a decent bar are not as important as tasty food. We disagree.
When compared with our recent visit to the crowded lunch room at Chola, Yuva seemed to be starving for customers despite its nice food.
Yuva RatingYuva's major drawback is that a fine kitchen is let down by sub-par service in the dining room.
If you can stomach Yuva's lousy service and pitiful cocktails, your stomach will love the fine Indian food that its kitchen brings your way in this corner of Manhattan's Midtown East side. - © NYIndia.us