Tag Archive | Indian

Restaurant Review: Patiala Lounge at Junoon

Patiala Lounge from Website
Above Photo Courtesy of Junoon Website. All Food Photos Courtesy of Diane’s iPhone

Delicious Indian food can be found all over Manhattan; from East 6th Street to Curry Hill and elsewhere. But when you really want an unforgettable fine dining experience in the realm of Indian Cuisine, there is no question that the place to come is Junoon. On a previous visit to this Michelin-starred foodie haven on West 24th Street, we were wowed by delicious foods perfectly paired with a variety of wines (wine pairings are a Junoon specialty), gracious, personalized service and the understated opulence of the main dining space. When we paid a long-overdue return visit to Junoon last week, we decided to change up the experience a bit by dining in the Restaurant’s equally gorgeous front room and bar, which is called the Patiala Lounge.

Patiala Lounge Seating
Photo By Gail

Offering the same menu as Junoon but in a more relaxed, intimate (and dimly lit) space, Patiala Lounge provides a variety of seating options. From the room-length bar to high communal tables, clusters of sofas, low tables and side chairs, or suspended, glass topped tables (which were formerly swings) that display a collection of colorful Indian spices and dried flowers, Patiala is an ideal destination for everything from an after work cocktail and light bite to an impressive first date. Chef and Culinary Creative Director Aliya LeeKong along with Executive Chef Vikas Khanna have created a menu with all of your Indian favorites as well as their own special creations.

Cocktails

We were so smitten by numerous delights on the appetizer section of the menu that we opted to forgo main dishes in favor of concentrating on a meal of exotic starters. We started off with specialty cocktail selections including the Star On Earth ($14) a Floral Cocktail of Chardonnay, Maraschino, Pear Brandy and St. Germain with a Star Anise floating on top as a garnish. This is a very sweet and potent drink, as you might guess by the list of ingredients. My dining companion chose one of the featured nonalcoholic cocktails, the Jaswal ($8), a refreshing blend of Cucumber and Lychee Juice with Fresh Lime, Topped With Ginger Beer (the virgin cocktails can be spiked with your choice of alcohol on request).

Here’s what we ordered:

Paneer Pakora At Junoon

Paneer Pakoras ($12), Generous pieces of Homemade Spiced Paneer lightly fried in a chickpea flour batter and served With Cilantro – Mint – Yoghurt Chutney is amazingly delicious with a nice mix of textures as well as being vegetarian friendly. Junoon makes its paneer in house, and it is the best.

Cauliflower

Lahsooni Gobi ($12), Crispy Florets of Cauliflower with Chili Flakes in Garlic Tomato Chutney has a rich and fresh tomato taste and a hint of fire. If you like just a bit of spice but not too much, this dish is a good choice.

Eggplant Chat

A new favorite as of this visit is the Eggplant Chaat ($12) featuring lightly fried sliced Baby Eggplant topped with crispy Red Onions and served with Yoghurt and Tamarind. Chaat, meaning snack, is a name for most Indian street food, and I just wish they had street food this yummy in the US. Seriously, if you are a fan of eggplant, this dish is must try. The sweet fried onions and blend of sauces take it over the top.

Chicken Thighs

Murg Tikka Mirza Hasnu ($14) is a dish of Chicken Thigh pieces marinated in Hung Yoghurt, Junoon Garam Masala and Cheddar Cheese (yes, the cheese is in the marinade) and served with A Tomato and Cucumber Salad. Juicy and very flavorful from its time in the tandoor oven, our waiter suggested we have it prepared with a little extra char on the outside to accent the tenderness of the meat.

Naan Breads

Because we were in a tasting mood, we asked for a basket of assorted Indian breads that included traditional Naam, Parartha, Roti and a Junoon Specialty Naan stuffed with Prune and Walnuts, which was divine. Breads are priced from $5 – $8 for a basket generous enough to share.

Normally we would not order three desserts (!), but our server insisted we try a little of everything, it seems, as follows:

Junoon Dessert 2

If you are a person who, like me, enjoys many different flavors commingling together on one plate, you will flip over the desserts at Patiala Lounge. This is a Chocolate Spice Cake with a light touch of chili powder giving it a little kick. It comes with a buttery tasting ice cream flavored with pistachio and other assorted nuts. Insane.

Junoon Dessert 1

Here we have a mélange of Coconut Rice Pudding, Bruleed Bananas, Dates, Rum Glaze, Candied Almonds and Ginger Ice Cream. Unreal.

Junoon Dessert 3

The Date Fig Gateau is topped with Salty Caramel Sauce, garnished with sweet and fragrant fresh Clementine segments (which we loved), Meringue bits, Black Sesame Crumble and accompanied by Cinnamon Ice Cream. All Desserts are $12.

There are many reasons why Junoon is one of my favorite restaurants – excellent food, beautifully designed interiors, exceptional service – and I can say that when you visit you will be treated to all of these things equally in the Patiala Lounge as you will in the main space of the restaurant.Maybe I’ll see you there.

Patiala Lounge at Junoon Restaurant is located at 27 W. 24th St., New York, NY, 10010 (Between 5th and 6th Avenues). I would recommend that you phone 212-490-2100 for reservations just in case, as it is a pretty popular place (and with good reason)! The extensive menu can be downloaded from their website at Junoon NYC Dot Com.

Junoon Offers Fine Indian Cuisine Amid Understated Elegance

“Passion is no ordinary word,” so musician Graham Parker once mused. In Hindi, the word Junoon means “passion,” so it follows that this restaurant, located just west of the trending Madison Square Park neighborhood, demonstrates passion for creating a memorable dining experience. From the decor to the service and of course, the delicious food, a visit to Junoon means it’s time to relax and indulge all of your senses.

Decorated in a palette of muted earth tones (and featuring, we heard, choice items found in ABC Carpet and Home), two reflecting pools – one taking center stage in the foyer and another adjacent to the dining room (see top photo) – provide additional mood-enhancement to Junoon’s beautiful interior, while a row of intricately carved Indian sandstone panels contribute to the subdued elegance of the open dining space. Ambient noise level is low to moderate, so be assured you should not have any trouble hearing the conversation at your table while being spared from hearing that of those seated near you.


Aromatic Apricot: Best Cocktail of the Summer! (All Food Photos By Anne Raso)

It’s always advisable to sample a restaurant’s signature cocktails and Junoon is no exception to that rule. We enjoyed immensely the Aromatic Apricot, fragrant with muddled cilantro and potent with apricot infused gin, with added refreshing sweetness from a mix of lime simple syrup and lemon juice. This is one of the standout specialty cocktails we have tasted on our many culinary adventures this summer, so be advised that Junoon will be changing from summer to fall cocktails at the end of September, leaving you a very brief window remaining to taste this simply amazing cocktail!

If the grape is what you crave, the restaurant offers wine pairings, priced at $45 and $75, with its tasting menu — with additional wine pairings accommodated upon request. Wine lovers, and especially those wishing to know more about wines, should consider taking advantage of Junoon’s brilliant Sommelier, Robin Lewis. Lewis is so knowledgeable he even related the back story /history on the vineyard which produced the grapes for our dessert wine! His wine selections for each of our set of courses are noted below.

Junoon makes its own paneer, a mild Indian cheese of which we are big fans, so we enthusiastically sampled two paneer appetizers. The Spiced Paneer Salad was an appropriate start to our meal with its spice-studded, seared paneer slices alongside a salad of greens, sweet roasted cherry tomatoes, thinly-sliced radishes and toasted pine nuts ($10).

We also tried the Hyderabadi Patthar Paneer, seasoned with roasted onion chutney (which had a distinctive flavor of sesame), turmeric, mint leaves and lime ($12). Another popular item among the appetizers is the Lahsooni Gobi (translates to Tree of Life): Crispy Cauliflower, lightly quick-fried in a garman masala crust, topped with aromatic and mildly fiery garlic tomato chutney ($12). All three choices are recommended for both Indian Food Fanatics and those seeking an introduction to this exotic and flavorful cuisine.


Crispy Cauliflower

Wine Selection: NV Patagonia Extra Brut (Argentina)

More Food and Photos After The Jump!

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