While in New York I wanted to catch up with my friend's Rohit and Priyanka who I haven't seen since their wedding in India at the end of 2010. We agreed to meet for a beer at the student pub of The Globe in Gramacy and decide dinner plans from there.
Rohit had reserved tables at five different restaurants, which seemed a little extreme to me. Is it really that tough to get a table in NYC? I chose Indian as the cuisine and left Priyanka to decide on the restaurant. She selected Junoon which I later discovered has a Michelin star. Win!
Carrot and cumin soup
When we arrived at our table their were beautiful gold plates at each place setting. The plates were sadly cleared from the table when we ordered, replaced by more regular white crockery.
The dining room was a little more flashy than a British fine diner. I'm not sure if this is typical of NYC or just Junoon's style. I clearly need to hit some more starred restaurants in NY to find out....
We ordered from the vegetarian sections of the menu where dishes were priced at around half that of the meat and fish options on the menu. It made a fine dining experience very reasonably priced.
Yellow Daal Tadka
We started with a palate cleanser of carrot and cumin soup. It was smooth and delicately flavoured with the cumin building as an aftertaste in the mouth. We all enjoyed it as a start to the meal.
The nadru kofte ($18) was the spiciest of the dishes we ordered. Annoyingly I've developed the habit of getting the hiccups when I eat something spicy and true to form I had an embarrassing bout of hiccups as I was trying to make polite conversation at the table.
Hiccups aside I enjoyed the dumplings made of lotus root served in a creamy sauce spiced with fennel and fennugreek.
The Punjabi Kadi ($18) was a milder dish of chickpea pakoras served in a yoghurt sauce with a house made garam masala.
We also ordered a couple of naan breads and roti ($5 each) to share. The breads at Rohit and Priyanka's wedding being freshly churned out of tandoors were one of my favourite things. While there was nothing wrong with the breads at Junoon I think they could learn a thing or two from India's wedding caterers.
Naan and roti
They day after eating at Junoon I did a quick internet search and saw it being described as a 'weak' Michelin star. I think that is probably a fair description, but at the prices we paid (eating vegetarian dishes) it was definitely a good value. A star is a star though, so I'm going to count it.
27 West 24th Street