Nestled in Tribeca is a gem of a restaurant, which pays homage to the culinary diversity of the 28 states of India, Benares. Benares is all the talk on the downtown scene for its lush spices and abundant diversity of Indian cuisine. No other country offers such a variation when it comes to dishes. In fact, Chef Beck notes: “In India, every 100 miles the food changes. From the Eastern areas influenced by China to the abundance of chilies for cooling purposes in Southern India, each state is very different. The menu is a medley of Indian dishes with an emphasis on the cuisine of the Western state of UP (Utter Pradesh) where the city of Benares is located.”
The restaurant space is modern and minimalist, with an ode played to India with artwork throughout. Unlike so many Manhattan restaurants, it doesn’t have a cramped feel to it at all. Benares is large, which plays well into hosting a sizable lunch crowd with quick and easy turnover of tables, ensuring there’s no wait (something all of us New Yorkers can appreciate!)
Here’s how to order when you go:
Whether you’re in the mood for a light and fruity cocktail (may we recommend the Diva, filled with Malibu rum, peach schnapps, peach and pineapple juice), an international pint (the Taj Mahal, perhaps?), or a glass of vino from their global wine list, there’s plenty of options for every palette. I stared my meal with a smooth and frosty glass of the mango lassi, and its cool and soothing taste helped balance out the spices from the meal just perfectly. I’d definitely recommend it.
Dining at Benares with a group has its advantages, because you can order an array of appetizers and taste them all. With a cuisine that holds so many unique flavorful dishes, it’s a culinary adventure without even leaving the comfort of Tribeca. If you’re dining with one other person or solo and can’t try the whole menu, options we love are the Dahi Ke Kebab, which are creamy, seasoned fried yogurt patties for the vegetarian. Meat eaters can delight in the Chicken Tikka Smokey, which is tender tandoor meats with smoked curry yogurt, served with mint, or perhaps the Galouti Kebab, which is the lamb marinated with papaya and the Chef’s special spices. For seafood, selections range from Tomato Fish with flaky, fork-tender basa in a zesty tomato sauce, to Cheema Thenga, plump jumbo prawns in coconut milk curry.
Desserts combine modern classics with Indian twists, like the Atomic Bomb of a warm chocolate brownie surrounded by scoops of rose-flavored ice cream. Others are standard favorites like Pistachio Kulfi (pistacio flavored Indian ice cream with biscotti and berries–I loved this dish!), and Mango Pudding.
Good To Know
While the restaurant would certainly make a great choice if you’re dining with a large group, another huge draw is their lunch specials. You can choose three courses in vegetarian, non-vegetarian, seafood, or tandoori, all of which are served with Banarsi dal, steamed rice, naan, and dessert, with prices ranging from $10.99 to $16.95. A true gem, especially if you work in the neighborhood! See you in
India Tribeca soon!