When I think of eating out in Astoria, I think mainly of Greek food. My family loves taking trips to Telly Taverna for huge portions of spicy feta, salmon steak and moussaka. It’s one of our favorite places in the city for food, and certainly one of the most accessible. It’s easy to park and makes for a great evening out, strolling the streets and avenues, with every ethnicity represented by its restaurants and shops.
So, when I was invited to dine at a fairly new to the scene (since 2015) Indian restaurant called Kurry Qulture, I jumped at the opportunity. Curious and always up for a culinary adventure, I took my teenage daughter. She’s more picky than most kids, so I figured this would be an excellent chance for her to open up her taste buds and explore her ever changing, growing up, palette.
Dinner at Kurry Qulture
The first thing we noticed about Kurry Qulture was how nice the restaurant is. It’s very elegant but also very faithful to its culture. Its walls feature beautiful art that shows the diverse culture of India, from an ornately dressed Maharajah, vivid street carts of Calcutta and a colorful scene from the merry celebration Holi in Rajasthan. The decor is bright and clean, and the addition of Indian music adds to the experience. There’s also a bright red, lovely patio in the back, perfect for the summer weather.
We were happy to meet Sonny Solomon, the owner, who walked around the restaurant throughout the evening, stopping at every table to make sure his diners were enjoying their meal. It was clear that this dining experience was not your typical one – it’s progressive. The food is unique, more upscale Indian cuisine, representing food from southern coastal India. He told us about his background, having worked up the ranks at NYC restaurants such as Dawat, 1 CPS by David Burke, Artisanal Fromagerie, Mercer Kitchen by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Town by Geoffrey Zakarian. He was also part of the team that opened Tamarind, he worked with Chef Hemant Mathur to help Devi achieve the first Michelin star by an Indian restaurant in the U.S., and also helped Tulsi garner Michelin stars four years in a row. I think you get the drift – Solomon was fully trained and ready to take on Astoria.
Indeed he did. The menu features uniquely delicious dishes that lit our mouths afire. Each dish we tried had an authentic taste and intensely divine aroma, so much so that it stayed with us when we left. Solomon clearly chose his executive chef carefully, Binder Saini, and together they do some divine work with spices. The restaurant also serves some pretty fantastic cocktails, too. I tried the Sin Till Late, a drink made of Blackberries, Mint, St. Germain, and my favorite, drink, Prosecco. There are other champagne infused cocktails, and I want to try all of them. Its selections include sparkling wine and fresh juice, house-made syrup, whiskey, and soda.
Our starters included Samosa Chaat, a mixture of chickpeas, tamarind and mint chutney that melted in our mouths; Chicken Chili Marinade, a mixture of three chili marinade, pineapple chutney; and KQ Cauliflower, hands down our favorite dish, a combination of cauliflower florets, garlic tomato chutney. Other starters include KQ kababs, ground and marinated with coriander and cucumber, topped with a cranberry chutney, and chicken bukhni, marinated in three chili peppers and paired with pineapple chutney. The appetizers are as exciting as they sound in person, having scintillated our palettes. Hungry yet? Let’s keep going, shall we?
I’m a vegetarian, so I was more than pleased to see a nice amount of vegetarian options, such as Sweet & Sour Eggplant, a yummy dish sautéed in a zesty tomato-tamarind sauce. I eat fish, so the Tandoori Salmon was very welcome, accompanied by lemon rice and green mango chutney. It was also one my teen happened to love. Other vegetarian options include vegetable fritters with tumeric, chickpea lentils, beet carrot kofta, and potato and spinach dishes. My non-vegetarian teen loved the Chicken Korma, grilled chicken with saffron infused sauce. Other options in that vein include Tandoori Prawns with crispy okra and sweet lime pickles, Chicken Kali Mirch, tender chunks of chicken in a fragrant sauce of black pepper and garam masala, Chicken Vindaloo, Lamb Rogan Josh, and Goat Aloo Curry, as well as traditional biryanis. We were both wild about the Olive and Garlic Naan, honoring the Mediterranean culture of Astoria. They also offer spinach and goat cheese. Our dishes came with Lemon Rice, and we got a serving of Basmati Rice.
I can honestly say that my teenager tried everything (except the eggplant). Her favorite dishes were the cauliflower, salmon and chicken korma. I agreed on the cauliflower and salmon, but I also loved the eggplant dish. When dessert came, as full as we were, we both made room. We both tasted small, lovely portions of shahi tukda, a kind of bread pudding with a thin cracker-like brioche crisp, condensed milk and cinnamon.
Lastly, I want to comment on the kind service. Waiters politely asked if we were done before taking our plates. They explained what our dishes were, and they were most attentive. You definitely want that when dining out with kids.
If you want to introduce your kids to Indian culture or simply celebrate its culinary beauty, definitely plan a trip to Kurry Qulture. I can honestly say that my teenager’s taste buds were introduced to new spices, flavorings and tastes.
Kurry Qulture is located at 3605 30th Ave., Astoria, Queens 11103. 718-674-1212.
Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary meal to facilitate this review and others, but all opinions are my own.