The modern Indian restaurant genre is rocking in New York City right now, with the entry yesterday of a new Gramercy restaurant that hopes to have the same sceney vibes as Pastis once did.
Gupshup, at 115 East 18th St. between Park Avenue and Irving Place, is now open, with just as much a focus on atmosphere as there is on food.
“We want a fun, social, convivial space,” owner Jimmy Rizvi says, listing out performers he plans to book, such as DJ’s, percussion players, and vocalists. Rizvi has a background in performance production, so he’s trying to meld that with his hospitality experience.
The space is fashioned to look the home of a fictitious Bombay family in the ’70s, with props such as old photos and cricket sets placed throughout. It’s full of colorful, playful, opulent decor, with several chandeliers, two murals — a woman by artist Karishma Naran and a tiger by Sonny — and busy wallpaper. It brings to mind London’s Gymkhana, a space modeled after private society clubs in India and a destination where celebrities like Oprah, Ed Sheeran, David Beckham, and Reese Witherspoon have been spotted.
For the food and drink, Rizvi has brought in two bigger names. Executive chef Gurpreet Singh (Indian Accent, Punjab Grill) moved here from India and has put together a menu with fusion-heavy dishes such as an Indian take on ramen with a tomato rasam broth and mushrooms or roasted bone marrow with five-spice naan. The full menu is below.
Indian flavors continue into the drinks, created by renowned Boston bartender Tenzin Samdo (Cafe ArtScience) and executed by beverage director Seth Allen. Drinks include the Goan sunrise with vodka, cucumber, basil, green chartreuse, egg white, lime and a fishbowl-esque option served in a tiffin wallah with two large cocktails for sharing: a gin lime rickey and a rum mango lassi.
The modern Indian restaurant boom also includes venues like Rahi, Baar Baar, and Bombay Bread Bar, though none have had a focus on entertainment like Gupshup — which means “to gossip” in Hindi — intends.
Gupshup is open Monday through Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 9 pm. The bar will stay open an hour later.