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Cafe Spice NYC Indian Restaurant

Cafe Spice
72 University Pl
(Btwn 10th & 11th St)
New York NY 10003

Other NYC Indian/Pakistani Restaurants
Cafe Spice, NYC

Cafe Spice NYC Review: Spiceless, Tasteless Food; Average Service

We went into Cafe Spice with a gargantuan appetite and came out in a famished condition.

If ever a restaurant was misnamed, it's the Cafe Spice outpost at 72 University Place in New York City. A more apt name for this impostor of an Indian restaurant would be Cafe Spice-less.

And why not - after all this is a restaurant that seems to delight in scrimping on the spices.

After tasting a medley of dishes at Cafe Spice, we have serious doubts whether this restaurant even has a chef, let alone a qualified or experienced one.

We sampled a variety of dishes - Chicken Curry, Sag Paneer, Channa Masala and Mixed Vegetable Curry - only to have one mishap follow another. Every single dish was uniformly inedible because of the kitchen's strange reluctance to open up its spice containers.

Indian curries depend on the rich amalgam of spices to give them their distinctive flavor. And when a restaurant goes easy on the spices, it cannot rightly be called an Indian restaurant even if it pretentiously claims to be one.

The principal offence of most dishes laid before us at Cafe Spice was that they were so bland as to make them unpalatable to Indian palates addicted to spicy food.

Maybe, Cafe Spice is deliberately dumbing down on the spices in order to cater to American palates unaccustomed to pungent smelling, fiery Indian curries. If so, that would be a tragedy. For it's the spiciness that gives Indian food their magical flavor.

While the gravy in the Chicken Curry was bereft of any flavor, the Chicken pieces were somewhat rubbery.

But the booby prize for the worst dish on our table should go to Channa Masala. Besides lacking any flavor, it seemed like it'd only made passing contact with the stove. The other dishes also reached our table just lukewarm although the kitchen is but a few feet away.

Naan bread and Raita at Cafe Spice weren't bad but hey at this stage of our meal we were willing to hand out passing grades for just edible food.

Just as our hopes for an enjoyable meal at Cafe Spice were turning into despair, we encountered the Alu Bonda. It was the single standout dish in our disappointing meal. With a crisp shell and well cooked potatoes inside, the Alu Bonda brought a smile to our glum faces.

We've been to Cafe Spice at University Place on a few occasions in the past and do not recollect the food being this pathetic ever. Perhaps we hit an off day, or a bad patch of Cafe Spice's menu.

Craving relief from such tasteless food, we sought solace in a Maharaja Beer ($4) and a Margarita ($9). We enjoyed both.

Cafe Spice also serves South Indian fare such as Dosa, Idli and Uttapam but we confined our meal during our most recent visit to North Indian cuisine.

Our waiter Francis was a friendly and solicitous young man but we were a bit uneasy at seeing him grab a quick meal in a corner of the dining room (at the counter near the glass window of the kitchen) while simultaneously attending to customers.

Cafe Spice may not serve spicy, tasty Indian food but one thing the folks at the restaurant don't lack is chutzpah. After all, it takes helluva lot of nerve to call this spice-less restaurant Cafe Spice. - © NYIndia.us

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