Has Midtown Forgotten About Utsav? Because It’s Still Great
It’s been several years since we’ve talked at all about Ustav. Zach pretty much covered all the bases when he originally reviewed the upscale Indian joint in 2007, focusing on their $7.95 or $9.95 take out lunch that costs $18.95 if you eat in their dining room. A lot has happened since 2007, not the least of which was some crazy financial turmoil, so it’s surprising to me that Utsav’s lunch deal remains the same both in price and in quality as when Zach originally reviewed it. And, even more surprising, I hardly hear people talking about this place, yet it is still really great Indian food.
I got the vegetarian lunch for $7.95. The Aloo Gobi, from Northern India packed some heat. Florets of cauliflower and cubes of potato were cooked with tomatoes, tempered with cumin, mustard seeds and flavored with ginger and fresh coriander. I really liked the Dahi Baingan, also from Northern India. Cubes of eggplant were cooked yogurt sauce, mildly spiced, tempered with mustard seeds and tumeric. The tender cubes of eggplant in thick sauce that was just a little oily, in a good way. I also tasted the Paneer Makhni (they added a little cup, gratis, to my meal), which is a specialty of Punjabi cooking. Homemade cottage cheese was cooked in a tomato-based sauce, mildly spiced with ginger, garlic and aromatic herbs. Sweet and mild, this is a house favorite, I was told. All this came with dal, green salad, saffron rice and naan. Remember, they don’t make you choose between carbs! It’s a good amount of food — I actually couldn’t finish it.
Basically, I wanted to dip the bread in everything. The sauces were rich, flavorful and thick (not watery, which can be a problem at many Indian buffets). I honestly believe you really can’t beat the quality of the food here for the price, even with the other options in the area, like Minar, which is just a couple blocks away. It feels like Utsav might have been forgotten — when I was there the other day, the takeout area was empty — but considering they haven’t changed their prices or quality since 2007, I think it’s worth a revisit for anyone who enjoys Indian food.
Utsav, 1185 Ave. of the Americas (btw. 6+7th Ave., btw. 46+47th St.), 212-575-2525