Chote Nawab: Indian Rarities in Curry Hill

On New York's Indian dining scene, Shiva Natarajan is an empire builder, owner of a half-dozen Manhattan restaurants and several more beyond the city limits. Chote Nawab is one of his newest, open since last spring on the stretch of Lexington Avenue known as Curry Hill, within a block of three of his other places. Natarajan, who's from Calcutta, varies his menus with different regional specialties—like Gujarati at nearby Bhojan and Goan at his latest, Malai Marke, which opened around the end of the year in the East Village.

At Chote Nawab, the pan-Indian menu includes relative rarities from Lucknow like tunde ka kebab, a tender, mildly seasoned griddled patty of ground lamb, Bob Martinez reports on Chowhound. Standards like chicken tikka masala—a bit creamier than most other versions—are on target, as is murgh zafrani, chicken in rich, nutty almond-saffron sauce. Beyond what's on the plate, Chote Nawab offers an unusually stylish setting. "In terms of décor," Bob observes, "Indian restaurants sometimes seem like they’re stuck in a 1980s loop. Natarajan’s places break that mold—they have a pleasant gloss to them."

Chote Nawab [Kips Bay]
115 Lexington Avenue (at E. 28th Street), Manhattan
212-679-4603

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Photo from Chote Nawab