Madras Cafe NYC
Madras Cafe NYC79 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
Madras Cafe NYC Review: Average Indian Food and ServiceWhen Madras Cafe in Manhattan's East Village is good, it's real good.
But be warned, fellow diners - when this South Indian vegetarian restaurant is bad, it's real awful.
We tried several items at this restaurant on 2nd Avenue to varying degrees of pleasure or annoyance.
Spinach Lentils and Eggplant Curry were cooked to perfection. We enjoyed both the curries with a nice Chapati.
Rasam and Sambar were so delicious that we'd forgive this restaurant all its imperfections and inadequacies. With a piquant taste, Madras Cafe's Rasam is sui generis.
Idli was soft and when dipped in the accompanying Sambar just divine.
We loved Madras Cafe's crisp Masala Dosa as well but the accompanying Chutney was cold, bland and plain lousy.
In our experience, most Indian restaurants in Manhattan want your money but are too lazy to serve you fresh Chutney. Stay away from Madras Cafe's horror of a Chutney.
But there were more disappointments galore. Masala Vada, Medhu Vada, the potato/onion fillings in the Masala Dosa and Sweet Pongal were all letdowns.
Masala Vada is a step-sister to the Medhu Vada. Unlike the widely available Medhu Vadas, we rarely encounter Masala Vada in Indian restaurants in New York and elsewhere in the U.S. We were delighted to see the Masala Vadas on the menu and ordered them pronto.
But the Masala Vada ($4.95) that landed on our table were pitiful caricatures of the real thing. Lacking any semblance of taste, the Masala Vadas were disgustingly bad. They were low on salt and low on chillies. The accompanying Chutney was insufficient and again cold.
Medhu Vada seemed to have been rushed out of the kitchen. It arrived on our table partially cooked.
Payasam was delicious but the Sweet Pongal ($3.95) left a bitter taste in the mouth, literally. You see, Madras Cafe's Pongal had far too much cardamom but was lacking in jaggery and milk.
Be sure to try Madras Cafe's Madras Filter Coffee ($2.95). One sip and for a moment we thought we were in Chennai (new name of Madras city). It's that good.
Like the food it serves, service at Madras Cafe is a mixed bag.
Despite an almost full house during our visit, service at Madras Cafe was attentive at some times but completely indifferent at other times. A brown bag and napkins were carelessly strewn about the floor and nobody seemed to care.
Our waiter did not care to include a spoon with our Coffee. How are we expected to mix sugar with Coffee - With our fingers? Our takeout order also did not include any napkins or spoons.
Although Madras Cafe is primarily a South Indian restaurant, it offers some North Indian curries and bread as well presumably to expand its customer base. We skipped the North Indian items and hence can't comment on them.
There's also a Lunch Special (Mon-Fri) for $6.95. This restaurant does not have a full bar but serves wine and beer. - © NYIndia.us