PONDiCHERi: Inventive Indian Cuisine & Cocktails
Pondicheri's name has been on the tip of my tongue for quite some time. Buzzing off of critical acclaim and a refreshing breakfast, lunch and dinner concept, the eatery proved to be worth every ounce of its hype. The sultry ambiance was magnified by a crowd of fellow food enthusiasts who cooed alongside me as we took down impressive plates riddled with explosive flavor.
Matt Bruck deemed it an Indian Cocktail Party and I needed nothing else to solidify my RSVP. Indian cuisine sits among my top three favorites for its high saturation of rich flavor and deep appreciation for spices. To my delight, it was to take place at Pondicheri, which I had my eyes on since the New York Times reviewed it back in October.
My initial reaction was to take note of the aesthetic which Pondicheri put forth. It was artistic, in both its appreciation of physical and culinary art. The open kitchen sits across from a towering bar that creates a vibrant energy within the dining room. The front of the establishment is a cafe, cranking out Indian inspired baked goods and quality caffeine. The space is suitable for either a lounge or work session. Though it was business in the front, I was here for the party in the back.
As foodie friends began to gather around the bar, we were introduced to Pondicheri's new line of craft cocktails. Each held an American-centric style but seamlessly infused just the right flashes of Indian zest to make it insanely unique. Of the many we tried, the mango lassi tossed with rum easily became my favorite of the night with its smooth, creamed essence.
As the cocktails flowed, a streamline of dishes came behind it.
Each plate was attention worthy and commanded an audience. Colors like rainbow shined a light into how enriched Indian dining actually is, turning some of the cuisine's virgins into enthusiasts. It was incredible to watch faces light up as vastly new flavors hit their palate.
In fact, I myself was thrilled to see a variety of my favorite Indian spices come to life in reinvented ways. Dishes as simple as Indian fried chicken and samosas found themselves on a more elevated playing field. Pondicheri even introduced me to new spices through dishes that inspired my culinary perspective. You could say I left Pondicheri a better foodie than I came in.
While Pondicheri has earned a reputable name in the dining world, it is perhaps the most underrated bar experience in NYC. Whether you're a fanatic of Indian cuisine or a complete newbie, you'll revel in this unique experience. I know I did.
A: 15 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001
T: (646) 878-4375