Dish By Dish: Polash

Polash Restaurant Because we live at the Northern end of Spanish Harlem I though it pretty unlikely that an Indian Restaurant would ever open a block from my front door, and I thought it near impossible that this restaurant would serve some of the best Indian food I have had in New York. If you choose either eat-in or delivery you will get large portions, piping hot curry and masala sauces, and pillow fluffy naan or roti ever time. Though the restaurant can seat over 30 people, before the Hunter College School of Social Work went in across the street they did mostly take out and delivery business. When Polash opened about 4 years ago (maybe more) I could not believe that we were graced with such good Indian food at great prices a block away. Since we are avid patrons of Polash we are pretty familiar with their extensive menu, and it has only happened a few times that we have been less than thrilled with the food (and that was a few years back). Some of our favorites include: banana pakora (which I LOVE), spicy papadam, vegetable samosa, chicken tikka saag masala, vegetable kufta curry, beef dopizia (my brother’s fav), saag paneer, tandori fish, and mulligatawny soup. On this most recent visit Keith tried something new and I went with an old favorite; and of course, we walked out with leftovers, and a full order of banana pakora because it’s just as good as dessert as it is an appetizer. Polash Papadam and Green Sauce Papadam: When you eat in at Polash the first thing delivered to your table is papadam and a triple team of sauces: green sauce, tamarind sauce, and onion chutney. Papadam is a perfectly light and crunchy round shaped chip made from chickpeas (and lots of cracked black pepper, if you get the spicy one), and is a great way to start your meal. Polash Chicken Samosa Chicken Samosa: The chicken samosa was moist and flavorful meat wrapped in crispy fried dough. Though I was not expecting the warm spice combination that was mixed with the chicken (I think there was cinnamon and cloves), I thought it was a great twist on an appetizer that is normally flavored with yellow curry.Polash Mixed Appetizer Mixed Appetizer: I know this looks like a plate of deep fried heaven–and it really was!  The Mixed Appetizer includes (clockwise from the top right) a vegetable samosa, batter fried eggplant, onion (savory) pakora, and a banana (sweet) pakora.  Everything was a lovely golden brown and crisp without being greasy.  Mix and match these appetizers with the sauce trio, and you will achieve Indian Finger Food enlightenment! Polash Roti and Naan Roti & Naan: Polash makes amazing Roti and Naan. The traditional Indian way to pluck those juicy chunks of chicken and kofta meatballs out of the rich masala sauces and get them to your mouth, Polash’s Roti (made with wheat flour) and Naan (made with white flour) are always warm and fluffy. Polash Chicken Tikka Saag Masala Chicken Tikka Saag Masala: I ordered Chicken Tikka Saag Masala, which consists of chunks of marinated white meat chicken slow cooked in a rich, vibrant, and complex tomato based sauce with spinach. The chicken was (and always is) extremely tender, and completes the perfect bite when it’s smothered in the Tikka Masala Sauce with a little rice. Even though it is one of my favs, I can never finish it. Polash Kofta Masala and rice Kofta Masala: Because there are endless options on the menu Keith decided to order something new and went with the Kofta Masala, and it has now been moved to the favorites list. The ground lamb meatballs were well seasoned and very tender, and the Masala sauce, though similar in color and texture to the Tikka Masala Sauce, had more heat and paprika, so the flavors were slightly cleaner with less richness. Keith liked it so much that he did finish all of it. Polash’s staff is very pleasant and they are willing to talk with you about the cuisine they prepare and the ways in which they can tailor the dish that you ordered to your liking. Whenever I have asked them to change anything (normally I ask them to add vegetables to the dishes that only have meat or paneer), they are extremely accommodating. They are also open late, have extremely fast delivery, and are really good at getting your phone order right every time. If you have never had Northern Indian food Polash is the place to try it. Forget Little India (on the 20s on Lexington) because those restaurants can’t offer anything better than what Polash has Uptown. PLEASE NOTE: a similar version of this restaurant review was recently published on the CheapEats Blog.  Don’t worry–I wrote them both!

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