I was so excited to get invited to visit Madam Ji which has some of the greatest New York Restaurant Week deals for both lunch and dinner as we go to press (but just so you know they always have an awesome $14.95 lunch deal that is arguably the most generous deal in any Indian eatery in all of NYC)! You will love the friendly service and comfortable no rush atmosphere as well.
I started off my visit to this cozy West Village storefront eatery with a Sassy Lassi, which is a traditional lassi with white rum added and a sprinkling of fresh herbs and crushed rose petals on top. This is a very fun, fruity and relaxing drink and it is given that modern touch by being served in a cosmopolitan glass. Why didn’t anyone think of putting rum in a mango lassi before? This drink totally rocks and is well worth the $16.
Now, you can’t go to an Indian restaurant without trying their great breads straight out of a clay oven and so my guest and I ordered both the Butter Naan and Rani’s Roti (I do not know who Rani is but I assume it is the name of a sous chef). These breads were puffy and light and just perfect for dipping into the Smoked Raita they we ordered (which had a great cucumber taste and was light on the “smoke”). The tamarind sauce and chutney automatically served with our next item pictured below were homemade and delicious and I spread them on my bread very liberally along with the Raita. These breads cost only $4 each and are a meal in themselves so I highly recommend that you order them. They are much less greasy that Naan and Roti that you will find at most Indian restos in the city.
The Vegetable Samosas were perfectly golden on the outside and had a warm and soft filling that consisted mainly of potatoes and peas. In my humble opinion, this was the “rock star” dish that we had at Madam Ji. The filling was lightly herbed and what else can I say except that these just might be the best Samosa in The Big Apple. (Now that is saying A LOT!) I already told you about how much I loved the sauces that came with these! I wished that I could take home a gallon of each.
Next up was the Tandoori Chicken from the Small Plates section of the menu. It is made with a hung yogurt marinade, chopped fresh jalapeños and Raita. Only breast meat is used and the marinade makes it oh so juicy while the Jalapeños give the dish a serious kick without being overpowering. This is another “rock star” dish from the Madam Ji kitchen.
Next up was the fabulous Saag Panir which digressed from the usual recipe by including large chunks of grape tomatoes. The large chunks of Panir were very fresh tasting and I recommend this dish if you like your Saag Panir a little less creamy (although there is cottage cheese in the sauce). It tastes a little more healthy than most Saag Panirs even though there is the traditional cottage cheese in the sauce. It truly tastes “farm to table” which is a good thing.
Next up was Beef Korma. You heard that right–they serve beef here. I noticed this has become a trend; is the third or fourth time that I have found beef served at a Manhattan Indian restaurant in the past few months. There are pieces of juicy grass fed stew meat, cashews and truffle in the sauce which makes it have an especially deep and rich flavor.
Our final shared entree of the evening was the Mangalorean Chicken and it was the first time I have ever encountered this dish anywhere! I was so happy that we ordered it. It consists of chunky white meat chicken with a tasty sauce made with mustard seed, ginger and longhorn chilis. There is a tiny bit of “after fire” to this dish although not on the painful level of say, a Vindaloo. This is quite a memorable entree for those who like “medium spice” Indian fare.
I can never leave a dinner without ordering dessert. My friend ordered the homemade pistachio rice pudding with scattered fresh pomegranate pieces and gave it high praise saying that it would make any grandmother proud. I hear that many people come to Madam Ji just for the rice pudding.
I wanted to try something unusual for dessert so I went for Paan Kulfi ice cream. It looks like pistachio ice cream but it tastes like mint and lime combined with a flowery base. It is made with something called a Paan Leaf which I assume is what gives it the “flowery” taste. I loved this dessert as it was super refreshing and I will come back to Madam Ji and have it again.
You will love Madam Jo’s colorful atmosphere as much as the food. It mixes a shabby chic vibe with interesting modern Indian murals. The chairs are velvety and comfortable and there is a covered outdoor space that is full on nice days. For more information, go to www.madamjinyc.com. Reservations are recommended but not required.