New York City is currently experiencing a mini-Renaissance of Indian restaurants helmed by star chefs. Chef Suvir Saran, who once made his name at the acclaimed Devi, decided to return to the Big Apple to open a new restaurant after unsuccessfully attempting to open one in San Francisco. Indian cuisine is always one of the more under-appreciated ones. Sure, we all enjoy chicken tikka masala delivery food every once in a while, but does anyone know how diverse the range of flavor this country can offer across different regions and influences? What Indian cuisine truly needs is an imaginative chef who can bring it forward to modern sensibility, which is always a tough task to do. You don’t want to compromise the essence of the spice that is so central to Indian cuisine but have to somehow make it still relevant in today’s dining world where everyone is looking for something different. My recent visit shows that Tapestry holds that promise of being an important Indian restaurant in the New York dining scene.
One thing that really stands out about chef Saran’s food is the lack of culinary boundary. I would go as far as arguing that Tapestry is not really an Indian restaurant but a global one with Indian base, showcasing influences from countries as varied as Mexico, Portugal and France. Not all of the dishes worked to great effects, but overall the creative energy was evident throughout. Yes, the heritage farm deviled eggs with curry leaves and black mustard seeds were forgettable, but frito misto with calamari, shrimp, curry leaves, chile, black garlic and cilantro was quite nicely done, with the way the seafood really came together for a coherently delicious dish. Rabbit terrine with fennel and pistachios, despite my anticipation, didn’t feel quite as satisfying, but I had no problem devouring the amazing duck confit sope with salsa roja and pickled kachumbar salad that everyone in my dining party immensely enjoyed.
I was surprised how tough the masala fried chicken that came with peanut slaw was, but the slow and spicy ribs with baby bitter greens and parsnip and celery puree were absolutely tender and had delightful flavor perfecting complementing the meat’s texture. Cauliflower and pappardelle with butter crumbs and chile was another delicious dish that had the very elegant balance of flavor without overpowering sensation. Among the desserts we tried, the winner was sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel ice cream, with the decadent brandy snap basket that everyone was crazy about. Strawberry shortcake slightly paled in comparison. Overall, the execution level of the kitchen at Tapestry needs a bit more consistency, but there was a lot to like about the culinary envelope it was looking to push.
Getting a reservation wasn’t a huge challenge, but the restaurant is still relatively new to the scene so booking a table in advance is always a smart idea. I liked the modern and trendy vibe of the dining space that is quite appropriate for a casual dinner with friends and family. There is a full bar led by cocktails inspired by Indian ingredients. Tapestry is the type of restaurant that New York City can always have more of. It is one of those places that could challenge our pre-existing notion of a specific country’s cuisine, and the ingenious use of Indian ingredients and flavor in the modern context is something that I hope this restaurant can continue to pursue to success for the dining masses.
- Creativity: 8.5/10
- Execution: 8.0/10
- Ingredients: 8.0/10
- Flavor: 8.5/10
- Texture: 7.5/10
Address: 60 Greenwich Avenue New York, NY, 10011
Telephone: (212) 373-8900