Flatiron Lunch: Bhatti’s Indian Lunch is a Step Above

Every Friday we go south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.

Even though most of Curry Hill falls into the ML budget, not all Indian lunch specials are created equal, and Bhatti is a step above in taste. As a self-confessed Indophile, I have a goal of eating my way through all the restaurants in Curry Hill (who’s with me?), but I keep getting held up by finding a restaurant so good, that it is hard to move on. The reigning champ is Bhatti.

On the corner of 27th and Lexington, not much distinguishes Bhatti (other than the occasional line outside.) In fact, the décor and the tableware bring to mind a fusion restaurant and caused some concern the food wouldn’t hold up. But a tip from an Indian friend that this is her favorite in the city is always a reason to persevere.

Unlike some Indian lunch specials, Bhatti’s doesn’t allow for much customization. Your only real choices are vegetarian, chicken or lamb (despite what the menu and Seamless web indicate). You will automatically be given the set items for the day: the appetizer (for the meat lunches it will be either Bhatti Ka Murgh or Chicken Tikka), the dal (lentil), and the veggie curry. You might be able to request level of spiciness, but no guarantees there.

The sever taking my order steered me towards chicken instead of lamb (if anyone has tried the lamb and has thoughts, please post in the comments), gave me the option of Chicken Tikka Masala or the Chicken Curry of the day. Even though it is not traditional Indian, I still love Chicken Tikka Masala, so that is what I ordered. Warning: Unless there are empty tables when you order, there isn’t a great place to stand while you wait for your order, so be prepared to wait outside if you don’t want to be in the way. If you don’t mind being in the way, don’t worry about it.

The lunch special was substantial and included an appetizer (chicken tikka), naan (which was a bit dry), dal, veggie curry of the day, my Chicken Tikka Masala and a side of rice. If you need more food than this for lunch, may I recommend an Indian buffet and a trip to your doctor. At first, I was a little bit annoyed that my appetizer was the same base as my main dish, but then I realized I could mix the extra chicken into the sauce and make it go further. Considering I have been to places that only give you 3 pieces of chicken, I was very pleased to start with about 8 pieces of medium to large sized chicken, making for a very large portion. I have a pet peeve of dry, flavorless rice, but Bhatti’s rice was delicious on its own. Perfectly cooked and oily, and by putting the rice in a separate container and providing a Styrofoam plate with my meal, I was able to decide how to mix my food. I was able to make 3 plus plates like above…

The chicken was tender, the tikka masala was creamy and flavorful, and the dal had a great balance of spices and herbs.  But the best item might have been the veggie curry. It was a minty paneer curry with a spicy after burn, and I finished it first. I just wish I had paid attention to the name, so I could order it again. I guess I will have to keep going back…

The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Superior flavorful Indian food
  • Large lunch special with variety
  • Different items keeps me from getting in a rut

The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • I like a little more flexibility in my lunch specials
  • Dry naan should be crime
  • Would prefer larger portions of the main dish and less of the other stuff

Note: Bhatti offers an in house unlimited lunch special served family style with even more dishes (but still almost no flexibility) for under $10 (without tax and tip.)

Bhatti, 100 Lexington Avenue (at 27th Street), (212) 683-4220


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    that vegie curry looks like saag paneer to me, which is also delicious

    • User has not uploaded an avatar

      Spydr331: You are right. It looks like saag paneer (more so in the photos than in real life), but it tasted different than any saag paneer I have ever had. Perhaps they substituted mint for spinach. It was amazing…craving it now.

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    wait what are you talking about lunch special? I just went and asked for the lunch box special and they looked at me like I had 2 heads….

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    the mint/unusual flavor could be purslane. back when i lived in astoria, a little place around the corner made the most delicious spinach pies, very unlike the norm. after going there a bunch of times, i asked the owner/cook and she told me she used mostly purslane, which she picked wild on long island.

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    it was really good. i went there on friday and everything had a good amount of heat to it. watch out for the lentils though, they leave the red pepper in there… like a whole piece of it, but as someone who doesnt eat lentils by choice i really enjoyed it. i got a chicken combo and my coworker got a veggie one and he really liked his, as did i. the only issue we had was that the side orders weren’t really labeled and they both kinda looked like chicken with stuff. his was a dough ball and we figured it out but since we don’t really experiment with indian food often we dont actually know what it was.

    i have half of it in the fridge still because there was so much! great find! but i will order ahead next time and just pick up, like the review says, nowhere to stand after ordering which is a pain on a cold day. good thing friday was a bit nicer :)

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