Downtown Lunch: Don't Ask Questions at Taste of Tandoor!

Midtown workers shouldn’t have all the fun, so to even the score, I’ve brought on Daniel Krieger as an official Downtown Lunch Correspondent to write up some of the tasty stuff you can get in the lower half of Manhattan. He’s a great photographer (ensuring good food porn), but more importantly he is a lover of cheap, unique and delicious eats (or as I like to call it- Midtown Lunch’ish food.) If everybody else on the site is given the opportunity to vent, I figure Daniel is entitled too. Here’s a little story of what happened to our Downtown Lunch reporter when he bypassed his goto Pakistani lunch spot, in favor of a cheaper option down the street.

Downtown Lunch

Who doesn’t get the craving for Indian food every once in awhile? Spicy, flavorful lamb mixed with vegetables I never knew existed before moving to NYC. And of course the Naan… one of my greatest third-wordly pleasures is a fresh piping piece of naan peeled off the inside of a red hot tandoor.

A few nights ago I decided to save myself a buck and eat at Taste of Tandoor on Church street, walking past my normal go-to, Pakistani Tea House. The food is similar, good cheap steam table Pakistani/Indian food. Neither place gives you what you can get in Jackson Heights, but it works.

Then things went all wrong…

When I walked in I saw two very similar looking dishes sitting next to each other. One was Chicken Curry and one was Spicy Chicken Curry. Chicken Curry should already have somewhat of a kick so I was curious how hot the “spicy” version would be. Could the lips of a white jew from Connecticut raised on bagels and cream cheese withstand it?

“What’s the difference between the two” I said, realizing it sounded kinda dumb, but maybe there were other ingredients or vegetables between them.  Perhaps one had potato in it? How the hell do you know unless you ask!?

“One is spicy one is not!” yelled what looked like the manager, perhaps owner of the place. “What do you think, I mean it says it right there” as he pointed to the sign which did in fact indicate which was which. I was taken aback. I said in an inquisitive and semi-defensive tone “welllllll what if I’ve never had Indian food before?” thinking he was gonna lighten the tone. Perhaps he was just having a bit of fun with me before?

“Then you can leave” he said, and turned away from me. I walked out and called him an asshole through the window.

Still craving Indian food (takes more than being kicked out of a restaurant to squelch that), I immediately went a block up to Pakistani Tea House.. which was buzzing with customers (Taste of Tandoor had maybe two somewhat grim looking people eating dinner there). As soon as I walked in I wanted to test the waters.. so I asked again “Whats the difference between these two chickens?” giggling a bit in my head realizing if this was a movie people would be laughing at this part (hopefully). The woman smiled and told me that one was Jalfrazie and the spicy one was called Karahi.

Downtown Lunch: Paki Tea House

Without hesitation, or prompting from me, she finished her sentence with, “would you like to taste it to see if it’s too hot?” and I did! And it wasn’t too hot! It tasted great! I ordered it, thanked her, and told her that I much prefer PTH to Taste of Tandoor down the block. She smiled and said “We make our food fresh 4 times a day.” Was that an indication that Taste of Tandoor doesn’t? Who cares… either way I’m never going back to Taste of Tandoodie. It’s PTH forever. I might gets me a tatooo of their naan on my arm..

Taste of Tandoor, 149 Church St. (btw. Warren+Chambers),  212-619-1200

Paki Tea House, 176 Church St. (btw. Duane+Reade),  212-240-9800

Photos and post by Daniel Krieger



  • I always want tattoos of things that are un-tattooable also. Like food, and songs.

  • While not a fan of indian food or the PTH, all of my law school friends swore up and down how good it was and what a great deal it was. I often just sat and watched as my friends ate their food there, and the owners were always cool about it. Tandoori, on the other hand, was always shunned, as those guys were assholes 10 years ago….Good to see some things never change.

  • Hah, that is hilarious.

  • You should of shouted “India owns your women”.

    Then call Homeland Security and say you heard the staff mention “Obama, suicide, Roti of mass destruction”.

  • lmao, You will Curry no favour w/ that guy..

  • Jeebus what a glare!
    Somebody please get this man some prozac.

  • LOL! Damn that guy looks pissed!

    Sadly, my coworkers are going out for Indian food and I’m stuck working through lunch to make a powerpoint, URG!!

  • He’s like the Kenny Shopsin of Indian food.

  • Alittle OT…

    I live near jackson heights, but have never tried the Indian food around there. any recommendations on a good place to start? any place with particularly good nann?

  • A good starter for Jackson Heights in the ‘Jackson Diner’ buffet. Many call it overrated but they can suck my naan.

  • LMAO @ tandoodie! thats awesome! I work in that area. Im a big fan of the wonderful lil nooks in the ‘hood!
    Lovely treat to read a “downtown lunch” once in a while.

  • ummm…isn’t “Paki” considered a derogatory term? Or is that a Brit/Prince Harry thing?

  • hahahahahah that story is hysterical…hes liek the soup nazi from seinfeld…

    jackson diner is OK…delhi palace right next door is better….

  • It’s the same sorta ‘feel’

  • PTH 4 LIFE

  • Jackson diner is good but I prefer Kebab King.. also another good one is Roti Boti.. you can’t go wrong at any of them but Jackson Diner is a bit fancier and maybe a little more expensive.

  • DUDE WTF? Good for you, glad you stuck to your guns!
    And … sorry but anyone else just absolutely LOVE the reflection of the 7-Eleven sign and its juxtaposition over that mean man’s head? =D

  • Daniel! Was the juxtaposition of the 7-11 sign over the head of that Indian man intentional? You rascist bastard.

  • Totally unacceptable!!! (LOL)

  • I’ll second jae_em, if you liked it so much you shouldn’t call it Paki Tea House, that’s the P word.

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