I heard Wylie Dufresne was collaborating on a menu at a fast-casual Indian restaurant. You know him – he’s the god of the molecular gastronomy movement. I can’t say it made a ton of sense to me that he was consulting for a place whose cuisine is about as old school comfort (Indian) food as it gets. But what the hell do I know. He is known for his take on eggs benedict, deconstructed into cubes of deep-fried Hollandaise sauce, encrusted in English-muffin dust and strewed about under petals of Canadian bacon. Apparently the man can also make a mean tikka masala.
Tiffin Junction offers two services. Lunch time is fast casual counter service. At dinner they offering a full service restaurant experience complete with waiters and table service. The space itself is clean, modern & bright. I wouldn't necessarily go there for a romantic evening but it's great for a quick lunch or casual dinner. They offer beer & wine, as well as a fantastic menu of modern Indian favorites. Prices are insanely low; nothing will run you more than $12.
The mushroom & gruyere curry dip was a gooey and unexpected treat. The only thing that stopped me from picking it up and drinking it was what little social etiquette I have left. I followed that by eating about 12 of the most flavorful and juicy curry chicken tenders I've ever had. I was scorching my taste buds off to get them in my mouth fast enough. They are served with two vibrant mango & spicy chutneys for dipping.
They have excellent entree items in the form of a chicken shiitake tikka masala and shrimp chettinad. Their version of beef and pork masala meatballs are perfectly soft in texture, and the tamarind gravy and vegetables on top were a welcome topping.
If you want vegetarian food they have lots of entree and side dish options that go beyond your typical vegetarian fare. They make a version of spinach & paneer over basmati rice with coconut curry. I have never once in my life craved a veggie burger but I would 100% return to eat their version with quinoa, kale, and mushrooms. They top it with melted cheddar, tikka sauce, and pickled cucumbers. There was so much flavor and texture I never once missed the meat. Here’s what we had:
MUSHROOM AND GRUYÈRE DIP WITH NAAN -Dip made with mushroom, gruyère and Chettinad curry; with grilled naan.
KALE AND CURRIED VEGETABLE SALAD - Roasted cauliflower, sautéed mushrooms and charred cabbage in nutmeg-curry marinade with parmesan; on kale and julienned vegetables dressed in balsamic-soy vinaigrette.
INDIAN FRIED CHICKEN TENDERS -Chicken tenders marinated in curry spices, breaded with masala chickpea flour, and fried crispy; with two chutneys – spicy and mango.
PANEER IN SPINACH AND COCONUT CURRY - Baked paneer (Indian cheese) in South Indian style spinach, coconut and buttermilk curry; with cardamom basmati rice and Bombay sev (crunchy chickpea noodles).
MASALA MEATBALLS - Beef and pork masala meatballs in mushroom and tamarind gravy; with star anise quinoa, cauliflower, charred lettuce and nigella-curry marinade.
SHRIMP CHETTINAD - Sautéed shrimp in Chettinad curry; with star anise quinoa, snow peas, preserved lemon, cilantro and fennel-curry marinade.
CHICKEN SHIITAKE TIKKA MASALA - Chicken (marinated in curry spices and then grilled), gruyère and mushrooms in creamy tikka gravy; with cardamom basmati rice, shaved brussels sprouts and pickled onion.
VEGGIE BURGER WITH KALE CHIPS -Burger (quinoa, kale, cauliflower, mushroom, carrots, chickpeas, onion and roasted masala) in toasted bun with melted cheddar cheese; with pickled cucumber and onions, and tikka sauce.
Address: 42 E 8th St, New York, NY 10003