You love Indian food, you’re just not so sure about how clean those restaurants on 6th Street are. I’m glad to tell you that you can head to Malai Marke with no fear. Unlike most of the restaurants in the area, Malai Marke feels modern, fresh and clean. I had a feeling I would like the food as soon as I walked in and saw their open kitchen and was warmly greeted by their staff.
If you are on a budget, like a lot of us are, Malai Marke is a good choice. I started my experience by ordering a “glass” of Weihenstephaner beer. It was on the menu at $6, already a very good price for beer in NYC. The price became even better, when the beer arrived. It was HUGE! Best part, the beer was tasty; slightly honeyed with a touch of spice that I knew would compliment my meal.
Since I was dining with Arielle, who is a vegetarian, we stuck to veggie appetizers. Most appetizers on the menu are priced around five dollars. We opted for the Ragara patties at $6. These spiced potato patties came with chick peas, yogurt, and a selection of chutneys. A great choice if you’re not into hot stuff.
I loved the Tangra Chili Paneer ($8). This dish hails from the street merchants of Tangra Kolkata, and is made of spicy paneer cheese. The Tangra area of Calcutta is known as Chinatown. As such, this dish has some Chinese touches to it, but with all the heat I love in Indian food. I was suddenly on fire and glad to have my extra, extra, extra large beer to cool me down.
I opted for two mains. To start, the Murgh Korma ($16). This dish consisted of a chicken Malai kebab which sat in a creamy almond sauce. It was quite delicious and quite rich. I was smart enough not to eat the whole thing…like I said, it is quite rich…so while it is not a dish I would do on a daily basis, I quite enjoyed it.
The lamb madras was simply yummy ($17), lamb stewed I. Fresh coconut, dry red chilies and curry leaves. It was hot, spiceful, and quite good the next morning for breakfast. I ate these dishes with some pea pilaf (basmati rice with peas and cumin seeds) as well as some delicious naan.
The verdict. Go. This cute little place has good service & cheap, delicious beer & food.
Malai Marke is located at 318 6th Street in Little India.