Amma Offers Indian Lunch Boxes To Go
If you’re looking for Indian food on a Midtown Lunch budget, there are plenty of options available, ranging from carts to steam tables. But at Amma (51st St. between 2nd Ave. and 3rd Ave.), you can get something else: sit-down restaurant quality takeout for under $10.
I walked into Amma not knowing what to expect, and stumbled into a small, quiet dining room. I was quickly brought back, past a wall-sized wine rack, to the servers’ station where I could place my to-go order. Yes, this is a restaurant where entrees run anywhere from $15 to $30, but from 12 to 3pm, Amma offers to-go ‘lunch boxes’ that range in price from $9 to $12.
If you want to stay under the Midtown Lunch budget, you have two options, each priced at $9: the vegetarian special (your choice of vegetable) or the chicken special (chicken tikka masala or chicken curry). You can look at the menu for the many other options, but for short: the lamb special and chicken tikka special cost $10, the seafood special costs $11, and the Amma biryani special costs $12. Each special comes with the vegetable of the day, rice, daal, naan, raita, and chutneys (the biryani special doesn’t include rice, since biryani is a rice dish).
I hadn’t had chicken tikka masala in a while, so that’s what I ordered. A chicken tikka masala dinner entree at Amma goes for $17, so the savings on the lunch special are considerable. Expecting to wait a long while for that food, I was surprised when my order came up five minutes later, a major plus for those strapped for time.
For my $9.00 plus tax, I got a good amount of food. About six big chunks of chicken swimming in sauce, a heap of fluffy rice, plus portions of daal and the veggie of the day, which was eggplant and potato. There was also a piece of naan that was as big as the tray all of that food came in.
I don’t eat Indian food all that often, so I’m by no means an expert, but this was some of the best I’ve had. The chicken was as tender as white meat can be, and the sauce was, well, let’s just say I used most of my naan and rice soaking up as much of it as I could. The rest went towards the daal, which, although a bit on the soupy side, was tasty as well. The eggplant and potato were cut in thick chunks and well spiced. The naan was as good as it was large. Covered in butter and slightly chewy, it was perfect for sopping up lentils and sauce.
While the prices rub up against the $10 limit, and surpass it if you want something besides chicken or vegetables, the lunch specials at Amma are well worth it.
Amma, 246 East 51st St. (btw. 2nd+3rd Ave.), 212-644-8330