Ever since trying Moti Mahal Delux, I have been itching to try another spot where Gaurav Anand presides over the kitchen fires. At Murray Hill’s Bhatti Indian Grill, where he is also both owner and chef, I had the chance to do just that.
The restaurant, small and cozy, was designed by the talented Rinat Tahar, with luxurious cushioned banquettes lining a brick wall under the glow of dim lights. Wallpaper in different textures, lining the other walls, gives a sense of warmth.
Dishes to Remember
Anand hails from the north of India, and presents the traditions of his birth place, while imbuing his creations with passion.
They are decadent, delicious, and memorable. I can still feel the light, teasing, tingling heat of these dishes.
The menu consists of eclectic dishes to satisfy both vegetarians and carnivores.
A highlight was the colorful Bhel Puri, one of India’s most popular street foods, a medley of vegetables and grains. My friend, a foodie and an excellent cook, could not get enough of it.
I myself cannot forget the Mehti Macchi Tikka, grilled salmon cubes, marinated in a mixture of yogurt, fenugreek leaves, and aromatic spices topped with tamarind sauce, that melted in the mouth like butter ($17.95). I was seduced.
The Murgh Malai Kebab, marinated in a mildly spiced creamy marinade with green cardamom and nutmeg, was another revelation ($9.95).
Both had a slight hint of heat that crawled playfully all over my taste buds.
An incredible shrimp dish—in the Bhatti Signature Masala—is cooked in a rich and complex sauce of onions, tomatoes, and a spice mix that teased the taste buds and lingered. The shrimp was amazingly tender while the sauce was a perfect example of refinement ($16.95).
For me, an Indian meal is incomplete without Chicken Tikka Masala ($13.95). The heavenly creamy tomato sauce was an avalanche of flavors that made me feel as if the gates of heaven had just opened.
To accompany those dishes, the aromatic rice dish Subz Biryani with fresh herbs, spices, and vegetables is just perfect ($13.95).
As we savored these dishes, I thought of Anand and other talented chefs in our city, and how much they are like ambassadors. Their mission is to offer the true essence of their culture through the culinary arts. That mission is accomplished at Bhatti Indian Grill.
Bhatti Indian Grill
100 Lexington Avenue (at 27th Street)
Monday–Wednesday, Sunday noon–11 p.m.