October 6, 2003 | Ask Gael

I want to try Indian food I’ve never tasted.

        Amma takes on sophisticated airs with its own sommelier and a duo of new chef-partners in the kitchen—gifted tandoori veteran Hemant Mathur (from Diwan Grill and Tamarind) and my friend Suvir Saran, with a preview from his book-in-progress on Indian home cooking. Saran first became obsessed with food in his grandmother’s New Delhi kitchen, where the cooks did the Mughal food of Lucknow. The fabulous slivers of eggplant pickle that spike savory stuffed chicken legs, peppery fried spinach with mung beans, and the sweet-and-sour pear chutney with lamb chops are his memories of home. But other corners of India are heard from in street snacks: Bombay’s crispy bel puri and the south’s steamed idli dumplings sautéed with curry, mustard seed, and coconut. We’re wild for fiery Manchurian cauliflower, elegant stuffed vegetables, and the samosa tasting plate with its rainbow of condiments. Salmon is rare at the heart, with torrid tomato chutney. Clever fusion brings kulfi in citrus soup and mango cheesecake for dessert. Order à la carte, or choose the $50 seven-course tasting, $85 paired with Josh Wesson’s wine choices.

246 East 51st Street 212 644 8330


Cafe Fiorello

Providing a continuous lifeline to homebound elderly New Yorkers