Tamil Nadu Bhavan NYC Indian Restaurant
Tamil Nadu Bhavan NYC102 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016
Tamil Nadu Bhavan NYC:Lousy Service, Good FoodWhen we entered Tamil Nadu Bhavan Indian restuarant on Lexington Avenue in New York City around noon on a Saturday, the place was almost empty except for a young couple and their baby.
Such a deserted restaurant was not a good sign we thought, but we were famished and since we so love South Indian food we plonked ourselves down in the cramped dining room where the tables are set too close to each other.
As we sat down, our bespectacled, middle-aged waiter came by with the menu and rudely threw it on the table. Uh, oh. Not a good sign at all.
While placing our order, we requested our waiter to get us Coffee first. He looked offended by our request and barked at us saying that the Coffee was not ready and that he would get it whenever it is prepared.
Ultimately, he never got us the Coffee first as we requested. Our food came first followed by the Coffee. Come on, is it really that difficult for a South Indian restaurant to make a quick cup of coffee? By the way, the coffee was not bad but definitely not great. For fine Coffee in Manhattan, visit Madras Cafe in the East Village.
Clearly, service is non-existent at Tamil Nadu Bhavan. Our rude waiter was completely unschooled in the basics of service and had an irritated look on his face all the time, even while attending to other diners. When two Caucasian diners at a neighboring table, who seemed unfamiliar with South Indian food, asked him what is a dosa - our waiter responded in an irritated tone that dosa is dosa. He just never bothered to explain what a dosa is or the different varieties of dosa served by Tamil Nadu Bhavan.
By this time, we were convinced that our hostile waiter - he with the eye glasses and constipated look on his face - must have served as a guard in one of Stalin's gulags in cold Siberia.
But if you ignore the rotten service, the food at Tamil Nadu Bhavan is for the most part reasonably good.
Much of what we tasted at Tamil Nadu Bhavan turned out to be flavorful.
We tried a variety of items ranging from the humble South Indian rice and lentil patties (Idli) to Vada, Rava Kichidi, Masala Dosa, Mushroom Kolumbhu, Rasam, Sambar, Kootu, Dal and Mango Pickle.
Idli was soft, tasty and came hot to the table. Vada was crisp and hot. Rava Kichidi or Upma was tasty.
But our Mini Masala Dosa was a bit of a disappointment. The Dosa was crisp but the potato filling inside was too bland.
Our order of Idli, Vada, Rava Kichidi, Mini Masala Dosa came with Carrot & Onion Sambar, Tomato Chutney, Coconut Chutney and Green Chutney.
Carrot & Onion Sambar was decent but a little too thick, more like Dal.
Tomato Chutney was spicy and tasty but was cold. Coconut Chutney was fresh but was way too bland for our fiery South Indian taste buds. Green Chutney was tasteless, cold and way too low on salt.
Rasam was heavenly - it had a nice garlic flavor and came hot to the table. We've seldom enjoyed such good Rasam in any of the Indian restaurants in New York.
While Chapati was brittle, Mushroom Kolumbhu, Surati Beans and Potato Korma, Okra Kootu and Plain Dal with seasoning were tasty.
Mango pickle was awesome as an accompaniment to both Plain Dal Rice and Yogurt Rice.
Among the desserts, Badam Halwa ($4.95) was a disaster. It was a tasteless monstrosity and had been heated for far too long by a sadistic cook in the kitchen. But the less glamorous Rava Kesari turned out to be tasty.
As we were waiting for our Badam Halwa, a different waiter popped up and asked whether we need anything else or should he get us the check. Hey, why the hurry and confusion when the restaurant was not crowded?
Tamil Nadu Bhavan on Lexington Avenue is an odd beast. The food at this Manhattan Indian restaurant is good but marred by rude service and dirty restrooms.
The restroom near the cash counter was dirty with paper towels strewn around the floor and there was no hot water. The waste receptacle in the toilet did not have automatic push button at the bottom. If you want to dump the paper towels in the trash can, you have to physically remove the lid to open and trash the paper towels. There is a handwash with paper towels right outside the restroom but there was no trash can there.
All in all, Tamil Nadu Bhavan in New York City is a South Indian restaurant with pathetic service and mostly good food. - © NYIndia.us