When you think of visiting an NYC food hall, do you imagine yourself sitting on a covered patio, gnawing on a smoky lamb rib served in a tin-can grill? What about the idea of soaking up green-chile-laced dal with buttery chapati in between sips of gin, ginger liqueur, and betel leaf swirled together in a martini glass? No? Then you haven’t been to Dhamaka yet. This Essex Market restaurant is from the chefs behind two of our favorite Indian restaurants in the city, Rahi and Adda, but the menu differs from those other spots. Dhamaka instead focuses on regional specialties you may not have seen elsewhere in New York City (the website says, “This is the other side of India, the forgotten side of India”). Try their version of chicken pulao served directly in a pressure cooker, or the tender lamb kidneys and testicles in a fragrant onion-tomato stew and pao shimmering with ghee on the side, and finish your meal with a rich, souffle-like chhena poda for dessert. After you eat Dhamaka’s food, your perception of NYC’s food halls - and the city’s range of Indian cuisine - will change. Plan ahead and make a reservation here for your next big night out.
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