Benares was not unknown to me as I tried their location Midtown Manhattan. Ok, I did not really like it and my Indian friends were not thrilled either. But I was thinking that, maybe, the location in TriBeCa as well as few years could surprise me. So, we went on a Friday. The decor was modern with an interesting divide in the center of the main dining room that was in fact a banquette.
The service there was courteous and efficient, but it is the food that I did not like. Pricey and not as good as the many places I tried. Baluchi's, located minutes away is for example far better, and I did not mention Tamarind, that was not much more expensive than this dinner, contrary to what some may think.
It started well, with some puffy snacks that replaced the usual papadam and were served with mint, tamarind sauces.
Then, we had some delicious vegetarian samosa that were not spicy at all, crispy on the outside and with a delightful potato and peas filling. On the side was some puffy rice (bhel puri) that added a nice touch to the dish.
We also got some dal makhni, a black lentil dish cooked with cream, that I rediscovered during my trip to India.
Unfortunately, it was disappointing: I simply did not like the taste, even when eating it with some delicious charred naan bread or rice.
Then was the tandoori grilled platter that had all sort of meats, from chicken to lamb.
The lamb was definitely the star of the dish, with its fantastic bold flavor, full of spices. The chicken, cooked in many ways, was unequal: some pieces were really dry.
We finished up with gulab jamun, one of my favorite Indian desserts.
I liked it and it had the perfect amount of sweetness.
I should mention that I drank a delicious mango lassi that was perfect whenever the heat built up too much in my mouth.
So yes, it was disappointing and there are so many other options in New York, that I do not think I would go back.
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