Reviewer's Summary: Simla NYC - Lousy Food; Bad Service|
Simla on the Upper East Side is the kind of restaurant that puts off people from trying Indian cuisine a second time.
Even for those of us with a life-long passion for Indian cuisine and ever ready to eat any kind of curry without complaint, Simla's food leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Our recent meal at Simla on E.78th St was a chronicle of one disaster following another.
Right from the moment we sat down, we hit one rough spot after another. Of course, we are no strangers to bad Indian restaurants.
But usually even at the worst Indian restaurants we visit, at least one item - maybe it's the Tandoori Chicken or Alu Baigan or the humble Masala Chai - is nice.
Simla, however, belongs to that unfortunate category of Indian restaurants that has absolutely no reason for existence. Not a single item we had at this s-called Indian restaurant was even passable let alone tasty.
If the food here at Simla is pathetic, the service is not far behind.
Our meal began on a wobbly note, literally.
You see, our table was wobbly. One of the waiters came by to fix it but only made it worse. After fiddling with the base of the table with a few sheets of rolled paper, he gave up after giving us a sheepish look.
We were petrified that the table would topple over any moment and send everything crashing to the floor. Sensing our anxiety, another waiter dropped as we were completing our Banana Pakora appetizer ($3.25) and fixed the table. Banana Pakora had an odd, sweet taste.
Vegetable Biryani was an utter travesty of a dish. Lacking any flavor or adequate rice, it was enough to drive an Indian to despair. Plain and simple, it was just a mass of partially cooked vegetables.
What made our experience worse was that the waiter placed the Biryani on our table telling us that it was Mixed Biryani (a combination of Beef, Vegetable, Chicken and Lamb cooked with Basmati rice). When we gently pointed out that we hadn't ordered Mixed Biryani but actually ordered Vegetable Biryani, he kept muttering Mixed Biryani like a broken record.
Another waiter came by, looked at our Biryani bowl and declared haughtily: "This is Vegetable Biryani."
Garlic Naan is our favorite Indian bread and we usually gravitate to it when we dine out. The Garlic Naan we had at Simla should easily count among the worst Naans we've had in over four decades. Lacking in enough garlic, the Naan bread was not even properly cooked.
But the booby prize for the worst dishes at Simla were shared by Vegetable Korahi and Chicken Dhansak.
Although the menu describes Vegetable Korahi as sizzling, what we ate was anything but sizzling. It was a bland, bad-tasting under-spiced mess.
Chicken Dhansak (Chicken cooked with Lentils and Spinach) was equally pitiful. The chicken was way too hard and the overall effect was of chewing on a rubber at the end of a pencil.
When we placed our order, we had requested that we'd like everything hot and spicy. But what landed on our table was extra mild.
Was the chef on some kind of strike or protest?
When we asked our waiter why everything was so bland, he mumbled in a bored tone - just add some green chutney and it'll be OK!.
Rasmalai is a sweet dish from West Bengal in the Eastern part of India. One of our favorite sweets, we've had it countless times to great delight.
But what appeared on our table was a brittle mass of Cheese Balls floating in a sour, vile, sour-tasting liquid that had as much resemblance to milk as mud has to caviar.
Much of the food at Simla is barely edible. Our meal at Simla on the Upper East side in Manhattan was misery of an order that we'd seldom experienced at a dining table. - © NYIndia.us