Every now and then, I get these random, powerful cravings for Indian food. I dream about the warm, chewy naan and the thick curries. It doesn’t take me too long to act on these cravings either. In this case, on a random Thursday, someone at work mentioned they were having leftover Indian food for lunch, and I was like, “Wait. I need Indian food. Like now.” The next day after work, I made plans with some friends to go to the American Folk Art Museum and quickly added in, “You guys are okay with getting Indian food for dinner afterwards right?!” Luckily, they were all down. And let’s be real, if not, I probably would’ve just picked some up on my way home. Insane or dedicated?? You decide.
Bengal Tiger Indian food is on the second floor of a building, so it’s a little bit weird when you first make your way there since you feel like you’re heading up to someone’s apartment or something, but it’s actually quite pleasant that it’s higher up because they have giant windows that face onto the street so you can people watch while you eat minus the street sounds and commotion.
They have a great prix fix dinner option where you choose an appetizer and entree and then get rice pudding for dessert all for $14.95. When you normally order an entree it comes with rice but is $11-$13, which while still fairly cheap is so close to the prix fix meal price that I had to opt for the preset menu. I chose a vegetable samosa as my starter and the paneer makhani for my entree. I had to order some garlic naan on the side because it didn’t come with the meal, but, hey, the deal can only be so good.
The samosa had a pea and potato filling with a great crunch to the outside. Just like how when I go to Thai restaurants and I always want to pick pad thai or pad see ew, I always go back and forth between getting saag paneer (spinach and cheese) or chicken tikka masala (chicken with cream tomato sauce) at Indian restaurants. This time, I tried to order outside of the box, which I later realized wasn’t so out of the ordinary because my choice combined those two favorites by being cheese in cream tomato sauce. Go figure!
The naan was warm and had bits of minced garlic all over it (which was definitely a plus in my book). It was my first time trying paneer makhani, and I LOVED it. The cubes of cheese were plenty filling, which I always (needlessly) worry about when I order the vegetarian option. The prix fix menu comes with kheer, a chesnut rice pudding, for dessert, which was also something I’ve never tried before but I ate every last bit. It was creamy and not overly sweet.
After this meal, I was STUFFED, so it goes without saying that my craving was thoroughly satisfied. I also have to mention that the waitstaff here were incredibly nice and accommodating. While my two friends and I were already eating, another friend of ours came to join us, and the waiters didn’t miss a beat. They promptly asked him what he wanted to order and served him his food quickly so he could join our dinner without having to wait long. Then, when they started clearing the table but I wasn’t quite done with my naan, the waiter kept reassuring me to take my time and that they weren’t kicking us out. Maybe these are little things, but I’ve had moments like this at other restaurants where I definitely didn’t feel as welcome or comfortable. Might I add that they were constantly refilling out water, so we never had to ask? Haha, okay, maybe that isn’t as noteworthy, but sometimes it’s the little things!
Also, another notable thing about Bengal Tiger is their lunch option. For $8.72 you get rice, naan, and two entrees. WHAT?! I thought the prix fix dinner was a steal! Now I won’t say this often, but this is one of those times where I was sad I didn’t work in Midtown because if so, I would be a regular come lunchtime.
Vegetable samosa, paneer makhani, kheer
58 W 56th St
New York, NY 10019