2010-12-08 / Restaurant of the Week


Spiced is a unique restaurant featuring Indo-Chinese-Thai and Classic Indian cuisines, served in a contemporary setting. The sleek, modern dining room features glossy wood floors, leather chairs and cool, decorative wall treatments illuminated by jewel toned lighting. The prices are affordable to all and it's BYOB for now, which adds to your savings.


Spiced opened about a year and a half ago by amiable owner Ronit Dutta, who hails from Calcutta, India. The concept of this fusion cuisine is a lesson in history. As it was explained to me, Chinese immigrants came to Calcutta around 40 years ago and created a new cuisine using their traditional recipes with local spices. Indeed, the Indo-Chinese dishes we sampled were bursting with flavor and texture. Add to that the classic noodle dishes of Thailand and traditional Indian cuisine and you have a fun restaurant where everyone will find their favorite dishes.

We started with two of their house special appetizers chicken 911 and spiced soup. As the name suggests, chicken 911 is a hot number, made with chunks of chicken, curry leaves, onion and hot chili pepper that was delicious with just enough heat ($5.95). Spiced soup is a heartwarming broth with snowy mushrooms, lemon grass, tofu, green chili and Indian spices that you can add chicken or shrimp to. While all the food here is flavorful, not every dish is hot, so don't shy away and miss out on some wonderful dishes. Sweet corn soup is delicious chowder that isn't spicy, and won ton soup is everyone's favorite. A Thai dish of chicken satays is made with strips of tender, marinated chicken that are skewered and grilled, served with peanut sauce ($5.95). Dumplings can be fried or steamed and filled with either chicken, shrimp or vegetables, as can the crispy spring rolls ($4.95). Crunchy salads are made with crab, roast duck or shrimp and lots of herbs and spices.

We were excited to try one of the Indo-Chinese dishes and chicken Manchurian was among our favorites. Tender chunks of chicken are prepared with a delicious sauce combining ginger, garlic and coriander leaves.

We couldn't stop eating it, especially when spooned over white rice. Other dishes in this category are chili garlic chicken and a variation of Szechuan chicken made with authentic Indian spices, sliced chicken and vegetables in a spicy Szechuan sauce. Tender prawns can be prepared in similar fashion, or try shrimp in your choice of Thai curry.


Next was a Thai lamb curry made with bamboo shoots, coconut milk and creamy yellow curry sauce, though you may also choose red or green curry ($10.95). Duck dishes made their way to India too and here you can try lemon pepper duck, Thai style Chang Mai duck with curry sauce and duck Moo Shoo, served with pancakes for wrapping ($13.95). There are plenty of Thai noodle and rice dishes, such as Pad Thai, which we scooped up and enjoyed.

Ronit insisted we try some classic Indian dishes, offered on a separate menu. The chicken Tikka Masala was some of the best I'd ever had, with chunks of chicken that are supremely tender, owing to the clay tandoor oven in which they are cooked. The creamy sauce is mild and flavorful, perfect for dipping naan bread into. Speaking of naan, the garlic naan here is like no other. It's very light and fluffy and not overwhelming with garlic. Other breads include onion kulcha, whole wheat roti bread, cooked in the tandoor and layered paratha bread, each ordered separately for about $2.50. All your favorite Indian dishes are here, including chicken, lamb and seafood curries, masalas, rice biryanis and a nice variety of vegetarian dishes.

For dessert, a cool and creamy galoob jamun is the perfect way to top off your flavorful meal.

A prix fixe Indian lunch costs just $6.95 and includes an appetizer, entrée, side

dish and beverage, served from noon until 4pm. A lunch special is also available in the Indo-Chinese-Thai category, that includes soup, entrée and rice for just $6.95.

Spiced is open seven days a week for your dining pleasure. Lunch and dinner is served every day except Tuesday, when only dinner is served. Spiced is open from 12pm to 11pm and 11:30pm on Friday and Saturday nights. Enjoy fast, free delivery and BYOB for now. On-line ordering is available through delivery.com, foodler.com, eat24hours.com, and grubhub.com. Visa and MasterCard are accepted.

35-12 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria • 718.626.8180

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