2011-01-05 / Restaurant of the Week


s tart the New Year off with a kick at Gandhi Indian Cuisine Restaurant. Gandhi is proud to celebrate its 10th year in business, serving tasty Indian cuisine on 30th Avenue in Astoria. The combination of fresh, flavorful food, a cozy interior, low prices and welcoming service makes Gandhi an ideal spot for a quiet dinner, lunch or convenient take out. Owner Bedarul (Bob) and amiable manager Kash welcome you warmly and tend to your every need.

Enjoy a cold, refreshing Indian beer or glass of wine while you ponder the tempting appetizers. You can crunch away on light, crispy bean chips called papadam meant to be topped with a variety of sauces that include sweet tamarind, spicy chili and pickled onion. While Indian cuisine is always flavorful, not all dishes are hot and spicy. If you have any questions, just ask Kash, and the expert chef will be happy to adjust any dish to your liking.

We started with Gandhi’s famous samosas, which are flaky pastries filled with either meat, vegetables, potato and mild spices ($4). Spoon on some of the delicious sauces for extra flavor. Onion bhaji are delicate fritters made of mashed chick peas and onions that are lightly fried until golden. Prawn bhaji are tender shrimp prepared the same way ($7). There are vegetarian options, such as mushroom bhaji and paneer bhaji made with homemade cheese. In this chilly weather, a bowl of carrot ginger soup or classic mulligatawny will warm you up quickly. Charming Kash suggested we try the tandoor mixed grill as a first course and what a wonderful choice it was. From the clay tandoor oven came chunks of succulent chicken tikka, lamb tikka, seekh kebab and prawns that offered plenty to share while sampling the best of this type of dish ($14).

GANDHI INDIAN CUISINE GANDHI INDIAN CUISINE Whether you prefer lamb, chicken, seafood or vegetable-only dishes, the menu at Gandhi can accommodate you. We tried the very flavorful and somewhat spicy lamb dopiaza, prepared with onions, green peppers, tomato and herbs in a rich sauce that goes perfectly over the fluffy basmati rice that accompanies most entrees. One of the most popular dishes here is the chicken tikka masala, prepared with a creamy tomato based sauce that is very mild ($11). Chicken korma is a somewhat sweet dish made with tender chunks of chicken, coconut cream, raisins and nuts, while chicken or lamb saag is stewed with spinach, ginger and garlic. Classic, 3-alarm lamb vindaloo is done well here and needs to be soaked up with lots of fluffy naan bread. By the way, their bread is extra light and fluffy and you’ll want to pick up everything with it. Keema nan is savory, filled with delicately spiced meat and Aloo paratha bread is filled with potatoes and peas. Balti dishes are typical of the northwest region of India and are prepared and served in a wok-type pot. Choose among tender lamb, chicken, vegetables or shrimp that are slowly cooked with savory spices. Balti dishes are served with fluffy nan bread and raita, yogurt sauce. I love rice biryani dishes, made with your choice of ingredients and seasoned with saffron, almonds, raisins, bay leaf and cardamom ($10-13).

Cool off your palate and satisfy your sweet tooth with one of Gandhi’s delicious desserts. Try their version of rice pudding called kheer, which is creamy and delicious, flavored with coconut milk and almonds ($3). Gulab jamon are golden fried sweet cheese balls, soaked in honey syrup and the mango ice cream is creamy and cool.

Gandhi is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner with an economical dinner special for just $12 which includes a choice of appetizer, entrée and a side dish or dessert. The special is eat-in only, served from 4pm to 11pm. The lunch special also offers three courses and costs just $9, served from noon until 4pm, eat-in or pick up only. Visit Gandhi Indian Cuisine for the exotic flavors of India. There is free delivery too so just give a call or order online at seamlessweb. Credit cards are accepted. Congratulations on 10 delicious years!

34-14 30th Avenue, Astoria


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