44th Curry House is Now Another Branch of Minar
The other day I happened to come across 44th Street Minar (between Lexington and 3rd ave) in the old 44 Curry House/Grill 44 space. For a brief while, I was convinced it was an entirely different establishment from the Minar on 46th Street and 6th Avenue (first reviewed by Zach in 2006), but after doing some Internet research, they actually look to be related (I guess the identical sign should have been a dead giveaway.) I’m always in the mood for quick and affordable Indian food, so I was happy to try out this other location of a Midtown Lunch staple.
The most obvious difference between the two restaurants is the size. The steam table at 44th Street Minar is notably smaller than at the other Minar, and there are only a handful of tables for customers to sit at. The prices are comparable – You can get a combination of two meat dishes with rice or naan for $8.50, or three vegetable dishes instead of meat for $7.50. It looks like the daily specials are served from the steam table up-front, but most things on the menu come from the kitchen in the back. Sure, all curries come with either rice OR naan, but it’s just $1 for an extra order of bread. I ordered the lamb korma with rice ($7.50), possibly my favorite Indian entree, and splurged on a side of two samosas ($2.25).
The lamb korma was served in a plastic bowl alongside a large helping of rice and some lettuce and onions wrapped in tinfoil. I was initially concerned about the amount of lamb, but after pouring the bowl over my plate of rice, a good eight to ten sizable chunks of meat revealed themselves.
Much to my delight, the lamb was actually pretty tender – not quite “melt in your mouth” good, but it certainly exceeded my expectations. The korma sauce was creamy, filling, and satisfying in all of the ways I had hoped it would be. I’m not going to say it was the most flavorful korma of my life, but it definitely didn’t taste watered down or bland. No complaints here.
The samosas were a bit dry… hard and overly crispy on the outside, doughy and filled mostly with potato inside. They left a bit to be desired, but I’m sure they’ll do the job if you’re really craving some samosas. I enjoyed eating them more after they had soaked up some of that tasty korma sauce.
If you’re looking for fast, reasonably priced Indian food, 44th Street Minar seems like the place to go. I don’t feel confident yet saying the food is any better or worse than the 46th Street location, but there are other perks. The staff seemed friendlier than at 46th Street, taking time to answer my questions about what I was looking at at the steam table. Seating is limited, but if you don’t mind sharing a table with a stranger or two, spots open up pretty often. I’ll definitely be heading back soon to try the biriyani and other curries.
The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- A variety of Indian entrees at reasonable prices
- Large portions with better-than-expected quality
- Short wait time, smaller crowd than the other Minar
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Possibly fewer daily specials than the other Minar
- Samosas are lacking
- Not enough seating, perhaps better for takeout
Minar, 160 E 44th St (btw. Lex+3rd). 212-949-0245