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New York

ADDA

BEST NEW BISTRO

ADDA

SHORTLISTED BY BISTRONAUT #7

WHO
When owner Roni Mazumdar, whose family owns an Indian restaurant in the East Village, first partnered with Michelin-starred, Mumbai-born chef Chintan Padya, it was to open Rahi, an upscale modern Indian restaurant in the West Village. For their second outing, however, they opted to create a super-casual canteen in Queens.

FOOD
Homey, authentic traditional Indian snacks and dishes from a range of regions, all done with good ingredients and great care (minus the pretension). This isn’t food for Instagramming. It’s for sharing, savoring – and reveling in the depth and spice.
These are the usual greatest hits — amen. Start with a snack or two for the table, such as fiery chili paneer tikka ($8) at lunch, or a bowl of addictive, clove-spiced ground lamb, to be scooped up with fluffy toast ($9). (At dinner, try creamy goat brains with ginger, chili and buns, $14.)
The lunch menu has great, quick options, like a masala fried chicken kati roll ($9.99) spiced with dried mango and served with potato wedges, saag paneer made with seasonal greens, such as peppery mustard ($9.99), or their popular butter chicken ($9.99). At dinner, the clay tandoor oven sends out garlicky cauliflower ($12), poussin ($17) and more, while curries and the slow-cooked goat biryani kick up the spice factor.
Be sure to add a bread or two, like the garlic naan ($3).

DRINKS
There are a handful of thoughtfully selected wines by the glass and a brief bottle list, but the focus is on local beers, such as Lemongrass Kolsch from Big Alice, which really stands up to all that spice ($8). At lunchtime, start with a sweet-tart mango lassi ($5) and get a masala chai to go ($2).

DECOR
The snug, 40-seat space looks like the local canteen that it is. They’ve papered the walls with the front pages from Indian newspapers going back 100 years and added some trendy framework plywood shelving decorated with plants, but that’s about it!

SEATING
The two-person tables are always crowded, especially at lunch, when students and professors from nearby Laguardia Community College take advantage of the deals. If you can’t find a seat in one of the metal Tolex chairs, there are eight stools facing the kitchen, where regulars chat with the owner, who makes sure everyone is happy and who loves to answer questions about the food.

NOISE
Mostly conversation.

VIBE
Super friendly, casual, and welcoming. Students who come in for a $2 samosa between classes are treated just as well as the big table of coworkers ordering a bottle of wine. Those who make the trek from other boroughs are always happy to find such an unpretentious spot, where the excitement in the room is all about the food.

SERVICE
Happy and chatty. Great at describing the flavors and techniques.

WOULD RECOMMEND
Highly! Within minutes of leaving, I recommended it to a friend, who hopped on the train there and soon texted me, “YOU ARE AN ANGEL. That was incredible!” (He’s been back twice.) It’s for the slightly adventurous, the done-with-pretentious, the seekers of flavor and originality and happy food.

WHO
When owner Roni Mazumdar, whose family owns an Indian restaurant in the East Village, first partnered with Michelin-starred, Mumbai-born chef Chintan Padya, it was to open Rahi, an upscale modern Indian restaurant in the West Village. For their second outing, however, they opted to create a super-casual canteen in Queens.

FOOD
Homey, authentic traditional Indian snacks and dishes from a range of regions, all done with good ingredients and great care (minus the pretension). This isn’t food for Instagramming. It’s for sharing, savoring – and reveling in the depth and spice.
These are the usual greatest hits — amen. Start with a snack or two for the table, such as fiery chili paneer tikka ($8) at lunch, or a bowl of addictive, clove-spiced ground lamb, to be scooped up with fluffy toast ($9). (At dinner, try creamy goat brains with ginger, chili and buns, $14.)
The lunch menu has great, quick options, like a masala fried chicken kati roll ($9.99) spiced with dried mango and served with potato wedges, saag paneer made with seasonal greens, such as peppery mustard ($9.99), or their popular butter chicken ($9.99). At dinner, the clay tandoor oven sends out garlicky cauliflower ($12), poussin ($17) and more, while curries and the slow-cooked goat biryani kick up the spice factor.
Be sure to add a bread or two, like the garlic naan ($3).

DRINKS
There are a handful of thoughtfully selected wines by the glass and a brief bottle list, but the focus is on local beers, such as Lemongrass Kolsch from Big Alice, which really stands up to all that spice ($8). At lunchtime, start with a sweet-tart mango lassi ($5) and get a masala chai to go ($2).

DECOR
The snug, 40-seat space looks like the local canteen that it is. They’ve papered the walls with the front pages from Indian newspapers going back 100 years and added some trendy framework plywood shelving decorated with plants, but that’s about it!

SEATING
The two-person tables are always crowded, especially at lunch, when students and professors from nearby Laguardia Community College take advantage of the deals. If you can’t find a seat in one of the metal Tolex chairs, there are eight stools facing the kitchen, where regulars chat with the owner, who makes sure everyone is happy and who loves to answer questions about the food.

NOISE
Mostly conversation.

VIBE
Super friendly, casual, and welcoming. Students who come in for a $2 samosa between classes are treated just as well as the big table of coworkers ordering a bottle of wine. Those who make the trek from other boroughs are always happy to find such an unpretentious spot, where the excitement in the room is all about the food.

SERVICE
Happy and chatty. Great at describing the flavors and techniques.

WOULD RECOMMEND
Highly! Within minutes of leaving, I recommended it to a friend, who hopped on the train there and soon texted me, “YOU ARE AN ANGEL. That was incredible!” (He’s been back twice.) It’s for the slightly adventurous, the done-with-pretentious, the seekers of flavor and originality and happy food.

CHEF

Chintan Pandya

OPENING DAYS

Lunch and dinner. Closed Sunday.

RESERVATIONS

One day in advance, online or by phone.

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