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