Globe-trotting TV chef Anthony Bourdain talked to Vogue India after the launch of his new website Explore Parts Unknown, and he had some shade to throw at his hometown food scene. Though Bourdain loves Indian food, he claims that New York doesn’t have a single Indian restaurant that he likes:
Back home, we are really weak on street food, at least in Manhattan. Queens is another matter, there’s a lot of good street food there. New York does deli well, so I can safely recommend Pastrami Queen, Katz’s Deli, or Barney Greengrass. But I can’t recommend any Indian restaurant in New York. I’ve been spoiled.
Of course, Manhattan has tons of Indian restaurants, and not everyone agrees with Bourdain. Earlier this year, Times critic Pete Wells made an argument for traveling to Curry Hill — the Indian cuisine destination in Murray Hill — for sampling some of the best Indian cooking in the area.
Eater critic Robert Sietsema scoffed upon hearing Bourdain’s assertion. “I would be glad to show him dozens of good Indian dining institutions at all levels in Manhattan, beginning with the dosa cart on Washington Square,” Sietsema says.
Here are 10 old-fashioned Indian restaurants that Sietsema recommends, as well as a four-star review of newcomer Sahib.
But Bourdain did have some kind words to say about New York too in the Vogue India interview, saying the city “has a big heart.” “It doesn’t like to see itself in that way, but we do come together when need be, often in moments of crisis,” he says.
And Eater will concede at least one thing: the very best Indian restaurants in the New York metropolitan area are not in NYC at all, but in New Jersey.