One thing that I always appreciate about my wife Jun is how similar our taste is when it comes to food. We both don’t like overly seasoned dishes, but also have this passion for spices from different countries like Thailand and India. As such, our culinary journey has included at least one Indian restaurant every once in a while, and we’ve visited some fine Indian places in the city. On a recent weekend, Jun said she got this sudden craving for Indian food, so I found this to be a perfect opportunity to visit Sahib in Manhattan’s Curry Hill neighborhood that has received some fantastic reviews from the press lately. Jun and I are both social drinkers and we always like to complement our meal with some form of alcohol (most likely wine). After finding out that the restaurant doesn’t serve alcohol, I called to inquire whether they are OK with BYOB, and to my great surprise, the restaurant said no. Knowing that a bottle of flavorful red can always enhance an experience with Indian cuisine, I was pretty disappointed but decided to check out Sahib anyways. Was the dinner sans wine worth it? Not really…
Beyond all the typical chicken tikka masala and lamb korma take-outs, Indian cuisine has remarkable diversity across different regions. Sahib’s dishes seem to be all over the country, but what caught my eye was the northern region of Kashmir bordering Pakistan. I was certainly intrigued and convinced Jun to order dishes from the Kashmir influence. We ended up ordering three dishes, all in curry form, and had a distinctly mixed experience. After tasting the Kashmir style potatoes in chili yogurt sauce, Jun quipped, “It almost feels like they just dumped the potatoes after putting together the curry.” Indeed, the potato didn’t feel integrated within the entire dish and even the curry itself was overly citrusy. We both have pretty low bars when it comes to Indian cuisine, but this could be the worst Indian dish we’ve ever tried.
Jun thought the Mangalorean style coconut chicken curry was marginally better than the packaged food from Whole Foods, although I thought it wasn’t too bad (but not entirely satisfying either); we both wondered whether it would’ve been a safer choice to just order the chicken tikka masala on the menu. Our favorite was definitely the hearty lamb curry with saffron and yogurt. Lamb is always a tricky dish to prepare because of the meat’s smell, but the curry quite aptly neutralized that smell while giving the hearty feel we needed after the disappointment from the previous dishes.
Getting reservations at Sahib wasn’t too difficult and the dining space was about two-thirds on a Sunday evening. I already let my voice heard on the restaurant’s refusal to allow even BYOB. The vibe of the restaurant is just a typical neighborhood Indian spot in Curry Hill, with Bollywood songs blurting over the speaker. Maybe we didn’t pick out the best dishes from that night, but we both ended up regretting not doing a delivery nearby our home that evening. Unless someone convinces me there are all these other wonderful dishes at the restaurant, I don’t know if I’ll come back to Sahib anytime soon.
- Creativity: 7.0/10
- Execution: 7.0/10
- Ingredients: 6.5/10
- Flavor: 7.5/10
- Texture: 7.5/10
- Value: 8.0/10
Address: 104 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Telephone: (646) 590-0994