Long Island City will never stop to surprise me. Before even the news about LIC being chosen by Amazon for one of its Headquarters, this neighborhood located few subway stops from Midtown Manhattan was up and coming, with plenty of delicious finds there. The last one is fairly new: Adda, an Indian restaurant, result of the collaboration between owner Roni Mazumdar and Executive Chef Chintan Pandya. I spoke a bit with Roni who I met at The Masala Wala few years ago, a restaurant he opened with his dad, Satyen, on the Lower East Side. He explained to me that they wanted to offer a menu of traditional Indian dishes cooked the same way they would be cooked in an Indian home. And don’t be surprised to see chicken liver and goat brain on the menu: this is apparently common in India and with my many trips there, I never encountered such dishes! I should probably avoid the fancy places!!!
The dining room is of medium size, with the wall paper on one side representing Indian news papers and magazines articles. We arrived probably 25 minutes after they opened and witnessed the place being filled very quickly, many people having a reservation and we were lucky to get a table (so you understand: if you are planning to go, get a reservation!). However, we felt the staff rushed us a bit because of people waiting and it was with disappointment that we heard that they did not have anymore kheer or rice pudding, surprising at this time of the day and considering this is the only dessert they propose. The hostess, who cleaned up quickly our table apologizing for the rush because people with reservation were waiting, was not too convincing and it looked more like a way to get rid of us quicker…Too bad because the food was very good, although quite spicy (they should add the spice level on their menu). Here is what we had:
Dahi Batata Puri, little pockets filled with potatoes, tamarind and mint chutney, yogurt: this is one of my favorite street foods, that I tried for the first time at The Masala Wala. To eat it, you have to stuff the whole thing in your mouth (you need a big mouth), getting an explosion of flavors at the same time. Surprisingly, it had a slight kick, but the yogurt tamed it down.
Aloo Chana Chaat: fingerling potato tots, chickpeas and chutneys. Very good, slightly crunchy but a bit spicy, I thought based on the description that it would be an Indian version of tater tots...
Tawa Kaleji: chicken liver, bell peppers, ginger and pao, a Portuguese bread that was buttery like a challah, served to be dipped in the very spicy sauce. Oh yes: this was very spicy, but I love chicken liver so I kept going at it although my mouth was on fire…
Tandoori Gobi, made with cauliflower, garlic, ginger and Amul cheese. Also delicious, it was again spicy.
Adda Dal: their dal was very good, creamy like I like it.
We ate the dal with a pillowy butter naan:
The last dish was the lamb chops or Chacha's Lamb Chops, prepared with Garam masala, ginger, garlic and yogurt. These were sublime and I definitely recommend them if you like lamb. The meat was perfectly cooked, not dry and full of flavors.
It was the only dish that was not spicy! Fortunately, we ordered some mango lassi to help:
So, overall, the food was very good but spicy, with plenty of small dishes to share that are not the classic dishes you would see on a menu, with a nice number of vegetarian one. I would definitely go back, but next time I will get a reservation and will ask to make the food mild or medium…
Enjoy (I did)!
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Adda - 31-31 Thomson Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101