I fell in love with Lala Sahab at 489 Columbus Avenue (between 83rd an 84th Streets) the minute I walked through the doors. It has a loft-life feel as it is one very long L-shaped room with simple modern decor. While the cuisine is officially dubbed “Modern Indian” by the owners, all the classics are here. I started out with Garlic Naan and I would say that it is probably the best version of this that I have ever had. It is golden brown and there are four giant pieces per serving–and they have fabulous homemade mango chutney to put on top at each table. We ordered a side of Lala Sahab’s Mint Raita as well to put on the bread and our entrees and it was simply perfect with its hints of mint and cucumber.
We also started with some Vegetable Samosas–the portion size is two large triangular samosas that come to your hot and golden. They are stuffed with everything from peas to potatoes and are light and fluffy on the inside. We loaded these up with the Raita, chutney and all the other lovely fresh Indian condiments on the table, one better than the next.
My dining partner Gail and I then doved into a large plate of Butter Chicken which had a tangy red curry-flavored sauce that sent us over the moon. It is simply roasted white meat chicken in tomato and fenugreek sauce and all I can say is that it is quite addicting. Wehad to order a second plate of fragrant Basmati to finish up all the sauce!
We also shared the world class Vegetable Biryani, which is almost a meal in its own. It is teaming with potatoes, carrots, peas and other fresh vegetables and the four cups-plus portion is enough to fill up two people for dinner without anything else!
For dessert, we had the traditional Gulab Jamun, which is a light pastry dumpling made from dry milk and honey–it was anything but dry. These are kind of an Indian zeppole–soft fried dough with a golden exterior but light and fluffy (not greasy at all). The light honey sauce was an excellent addition. The restaurant also brings out their famous Keer (Rice Pudding) compliments to all diners at the end of the meal and it consists of basmati rice cooked with milk and pistachios; it had a lovely milk taste perfect to end a spicy and flavorful Indian meal with.
Most entrees at Lala Sahab are only $16 to $17 here and the portions are large (as stated before). There is no need for a reservation and service is very prompt and friendly. They do take out and delivery and have a wonderful three course $14.95 brunch special on Saturdays and Sundays. They also have a happy hour everyday between 5 to 7 PM. For more info, go to http://www.lalasahabnyc.com. Their phone number is 212-875-1400.
This is one Indian restaurant that is reliable and high quality and one can understand that how in only two months of being open, it is a neighborhood “go to” restaurant on the Upper West Side. it is truly a well-rounded establishment and you will appreciate the serene ambiance as much as the food