If ever a place gave meaning to ‘don’t judge a book by its’ cover,’ Minar Indian Restaurant would be that place. An absolute hole-in-the-wall establishment, Minar is easily overlooked by tourists and locals alike heading to fancy eateries or chic bistros. But those unfortunate travelers looking past this storefront for alleged tastier pastures are missing out on some deliciously authentic Indian cuisine.
In a no frills establishment where diners order at the register, seat themselves, and eat off plastic trays, some of Midtown’s best Indian food is being served. Having quite aggressively feasted at their 46th and 6th Ave. location this week, it can be said with zero doubt that no lack of ambiance could take away from the high quality of Minar’s traditional and southern Indian cuisine.
Their samosas were a great way to start the meal, packing a perfect punch of spice, crisp, and delicious potato flavoring. Even though their sweet dipping sauce added an extra layer of zest, it was certainly unnecessary on the already mouth-watering samosas. There was also a cool, cilantro dipping option for those more amenable to the green herb than I am.
A spicy side of chick peas forces customers to chug water with every bite, but each delicious morsel was worth the burn. And while the dosas were perfectly crisped in an unbelievably short amount of time, the real star of the show was Minar’s garlic naan and chicken tikki masala.
It’s impossible to tell whether the naan was more sumptuous on its’ own or generously dunked in the masala sauce, but you can trust that both versions were given ample evaluations until I was too full to go on. And even then I had three more forkfuls.
Served with a plentiful side of rice (or bread, if you’d prefer), a salad, and a light cucumber riata, the chicken tikki masala was actually on the higher end of the price spectrum, costing a mere $7.95.
The cost of their dishes and pseudo-shabby appearance gives the tone of a mediocre Chinese takeout place, but what they’re whipping up in the kitchen is on a whole different level. With a friendly staff, ample seating that quickly filled up on a weekday evening and delivery boys running in and out the entire time, it’s fair to say that Minar is anything but an average take-out joint.
So put their menu on top of your delivery-place list because with additional locations on 31st & 5th and 44th and Lex, Minar delivers river to river between 14th and 57th street. Whether you opt to eat it on your living room floor with sweatpants on (preferable choice for any dining experience), or dine-in before a show and avoid its’ neighboring over-priced Theater District restaurants, you will likely end your meal as I did: pleasantly surprised, highly satisfied, and a bit embarrassed by how much I ate in one sitting.