Eater NY is chronicling what we’ve loved this summer — a handful of the dishes, drinks, spaces, and people from restaurants that have opened in the past six months.
The best slices can turn up where least expected, as this Indian restaurant in a residential corner of Brooklyn goes to show. Omar’s Fine Cuisine, also listed as “Omar’s Indian Fine Cuisine” and “Omar’s Bagels & Restaurant” online, showed up in Prospect Heights earlier this year, an unassuming storefront with immediate rewards for those who venture inside.
Most obvious are the smells of simmering lamb Chettinad and well-seasoned biryani that smack you upon entry. But spend more time here, and your eyes will inevitably land on the baskets of bagels hanging from one wall or display case lined with tubs of mango chutney and scallion cream cheese or the massive pizza oven responsible for churning out the only chicken tikka masala pizza I’ve seen in Brooklyn.
Unfortunately, most people don’t make it this far. Omar’s is empty most nights I pass by, save for its staff and a few delivery workers hanging around out front, and in my experience, most people appear to end up on this corner of Vanderbilt Avenue in search of Patti Ann’s next door, that blooming onion restaurant from the folks behind Olmsted up the street. Let me tell you: You’re missing out.
Online, this Indian restaurant advertises a handful of pizzas with generic toppings like pepperoni, green peppers, black olives, and Italian sausage. It’s a different story in-person, where a secret menu of sorts is taped next to the cash register with a half-dozen “Indian fusion pizzas” that aren’t listed online.
I had tasted Indian pizza for the first time a few weeks earlier at Pijja Palace, a North Indian sports bar next to a Comfort Inn in Los Angeles. Its saag and vindaloo pizzas were spectacular. Could this version be as good?
To find out, we ordered three pies topped with butter chicken, chicken tikka masala, and chicken vindaloo, totaling around $75 before tax and tip. The “mirchi pizza” with vindaloo came out first, a colorful pie that appeared to be made by ladling the Indian curry over a crust, then throwing on onions, provolone, and shredded mozzarella cheese.
It took one bite to realize there would be leftovers. Not just because this pie was spicy as hell, exactly how I like it, but also because it was just okay. The crust is thicker than New Yorkers are probably used to, reminding me of Domino’s, but it was still no match for the vindaloo, which turned this pie into a glorious, floppy mess. We vowed it would be better after a night in the fridge, and indeed it was.
The chicken tikka masala pizza held up better. It was more chicken than sauce and came out garnished with cilantro and chopped ginger for an unfamiliar zing I’d like to see on more pizzas in the five boroughs.
Okay, so Los Angeles might win this round (even if plain pies look like this), but Omar’s gets serious points for nudging this city’s pizza game forward. These probably aren’t the slices of 2022, but sweating over a pizza box with a few friends and a tub of raita for dunking leftover crust, they’re easy contenders for the slices of the summer.