Flatiron Lunch: Indian “Sandwiches” at Tamarind Tea Room
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.
Last week, we saw how much Indian food $10 can buy you (the answer is more than you can eat.) For this week’s post, I thought it would be interesting to go as high end as possible. In fact, Tamarind is so pricey that I was shocked when a friend told me they had lunch options for under $10. The trick is that it isn’t exactly Tamarind you want, it is technically Tamarind Tea Room.
Tamarind Tea Room shares a kitchen with Tamarind, but a different menu and separate seating. The seating in the Tea House is really only about 8 tables for 2 people each.
The menu is very limited in the under $10 category.
Malai tikka sandwich ($10) was listed on the menu as boneless chicken cooked in the tandoor oven served with onion and bell pepper. The chicken itself was good but subtly flavored and the sandwich came with lettuce, red onions, tomatoes and little green sauce (possibly cilantro mayo). It was perfectly good, but not necessarily exciting. I think the cumin dipping sauce that seems to come with all of the sandwiches really helped out this one.
I spent sometime trying to figure out the ingredients in the cumin sauce, because I was thinking it might be like raita, but it wasn’t. Instead of a tart yogurt taste, it was more like a parmesan sauce…with cumin. I am not sure how that sounds to someone who hasn’t tried it. But I can tell you it was AMAZING!!! And the sandwiches benefited from it.
I also ordered the saag paneer sandwich ($9.50). The paneer was out of this world. Okay, okay, I love paneer, but still. I was shocked and disappointed that the saag in the wrap was not shredded and cooked like a saag paneer curry, but it was spinach leaves laid out in the bread item. I appreciate that this prevents a mess. And really, it tasted very good anyway, because of the paneer. (A quick word about the sandwich wrapping: I can’t say for sure, but I am thinking it is correct to identify it as a roti, but I could be wrong, and I am sure the readers will let me know if I am wrong.)
Check out this sear on the the cheese!
Each sandwich comes with a small mixed greens salad lightly dressed with balsamic dressing. I know the biggest complaint will likely be that the sandwiches aren’t that big. In fact, they are 10 inches long. If you are light eater, I think this might be the perfect meal for that day you know you are going to get stuck at the office late. Eat the salad and half the sandwich for lunch. And then snack on the other half as the work day progresses and you know you aren’t leaving anytime soon. Not that we condone that type of staying in the office!
THE + (What people who like this place will say)
- Portable, handheld Indian food is high on my list.
- This is the best paneer I have ever had.
- Tamarind Tea Room gives me the taste of Tamarind without the cost.
THE – (What people who don’t like this place will say)
- It doesn’t compare to getting a massive platter of food for $7 in Curry Hill.
- They sacrificed taste for presentation.
- These “sandwiches” don’t compare to Kathi Roll.
Tamarind Tea Room, 41-43 East 22nd Street (btwn Park and Broadway), (212) 674-7400