This neighborly place is small and simple; the atmosphere is warm and comfortable; the service is friendly; and the food is diverse. If you are in the mood to take a culinary adventure while on Brooklyn’s Flatbush Avenue, Joy Indian Restaurant is an excellent choice.
The menu has an endless list of eclectic dishes from India’s different regions. India’s cuisine is as diverse as its culture, its geography, and its climate. Indian cuisine is known for using a great variety of vegetables and flour, as well as multiple aromatic spices to skillfully complement the ingredients and please the palate. The food could be best described as being rich and sometimes heavy. One can enjoy vegetarian dishes, as well as all kinds of meats, fish, poultry, breads, fruits, grains, nuts, and dairy products.
Here, vegetarians and non-vegetarians can enjoy a satisfying meal at a reasonable price. The meals are prepared and served traditionally at “Joy.”
We started with lassi, a refreshing, cooling drink that comes in different flavors. I had Mango Lassi ($2.50) while one friend had Sweet Lassi and another Salted Lassi. The drink was wonderfully prepared, with a taste and texture that were just perfect. This drink is also appreciated in the Middle East and Turkey. However, lassi is different because it incorporates Indian yogurt made with kefir, making it more acidic and when mixed with mango and sugar, one achieves a perfect balance.
For starters we had ponir, (also spelled as paneer) (home-made cheese) ($3.95) and Banana Pakoras ($3.95) (Pakora means battered and deep-fried.) We also had bhujia (onion fritters) ($3.95) and samosa—which is a pastry stuffed with either vegetables or meat and deep-fried ($3.95). The onion fritters and samosa were very good, but the appetizer simply known as Fresh Shrimp, cooked Bengal style and served in light fluffy bread ($6.95) was even better. The bread was a bit chewy, but we thought it was very tasty nonetheless.
The main course was a selection of several dishes served according to the classical Indian style—in a “thali,” which is a metal plate. Each order came in a small bowl, and all were displayed on the “thali.” This is complemented with a colorful assortment of condiments such as raita/mango chutney, mango and lemon pickle, and chopped onions ($5.95). The dishes we selected were quite tasty. The ones I strongly recommend is the Shaag Ponir, spinach and home-made cheese cooked in different spices ($9.25); the Chana-Shaag, chick peas and spinach ($8.95), the Motor Ponir, Punjab style—home made cheese fried and cooked with green peas ($9.25) and, of course, the Chicken Tikka Masala, charcoal barbecued and cooked in cream and almonds ($11.95). We also had the Tandoori Mixed Grill, a mixture of meats, chicken, and shrimp ($14.95). The chicken and shrimp were first rate.
No sooner than we had finished this chapter of the adventure, more interesting and pleasant surprises came out of the kitchen.
Dumpakht ($12.95) comes in a variety of meat choices. I would recommend either chicken or keema. The meat is cooked in a brass pot, then covered with pastry and baked. I have not seen this anywhere before, and it is quite different and interesting. My recommendation however, would be the Chef’s special known as “Vegetable Delight”—truly a delight to the palate and a must have ($12.95). This was truly a pleasant surprise, very tasty, and crispy. It is prepared with fresh vegetables, marinated in spices, grilled in a clay oven, and smothered with a special almond sauce. It was fabulous and I highly recommend it.
Indian bread, known as roti ($2.50), is also another way to complement the meals as well as the variety of basmati rice. The multi-layered, butter fried crisp bread, and the clay oven baked flat bread (naan) ($2.50) turned out to be a wonderful accompaniment to the variety of dishes.
The meal ended with a sweet dessert that has an Arab influence. These sweets were made of almonds, rice, wheat flour, or coconut, sweetened with sugar and scented with rose-water. There’s also the kulfi and mango ice cream ($2.95), gulab jamon ($2.50), which are fried cheese balls dipped in syrup, with a crispy and thick consistency—this one was excellent. Finally, there was the Rasmalai ($2.50)—cottage cheese cooked with cream and almond sauce. This one ended up being my favorite.
Joy has a special lunch menu, Monday through Friday ($7.95 to $10.95).
Special Dinners for one person ($15.95), and special thalies ($19.95 to $24.95).
Joy Indian Restaurant is open daily from Noon until 10:30 p.m.
Joy is located at 301 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn (between Prospect Pl. and St. Marks Avenue).
(718) 230-1165 or (718) 666-4017