REVIEW

Junoon

Junoon is the second best Indian restaurant in NYC, after Tamarind and Tamarind TriBeCa. Derived from the Hindi word meaning “passion”, it serves modern Indian cuisine in a plush, graceful setting. The designer Tarik Currimbhoy, who drew his inspiration from old-world Indian artistry, has outfitted the entryway and sensuous, hushed dining room with sandstone sculptures, carved teak accents, steam-bent wood furniture, antique Indian swigs made out of hand-carved Burma tea and reflecting pools with floating candles and lotus blossoms. The 50-foot long walkway to the dining room, known as the “Junoon Walk”, contains a sequence of eight-foot tall “Tree of Life” sculptures. There is also a very attractive front bar area, with excellent cocktails (particularly the “Sprig Around the World”) and an impressively deep wine list.

The menu pursues a clever angle: instead of traversing India’s different culinary regions, it showcases the five most important Indian cooking techniques: the Tandoor (clay oven), Sigri (open fire pit), Handi (curry / pot cooking), Tawa (cast-iron griddle) and Patthar (stone). The method employed is notated next to each of the menu’s dishes, and the tasting menus permit you to taste 3 or all 5 of the different methods. Downstairs, there is an open spice room where an array of fresh spices and herbs are ground daily and made into blends for the marinades and sauces. Each blend is only used in one dish in order to preserve a unique flavor for each dish. The best of Junoon’s dishes constitute the summit of NYC’s rich Indian dining landscape: the Tree of Life Cauliflower, a crispy cauliflower with a house garam masala crust; the eggplant with freshly ground ajwain in the Seasonal Pakoras; the Monkfish Tikka (Sigri), which is marinated in hung yoghurt, chili, lemon and mustard oil; the Chicken Tawa Masala (Tawa); the Masaledar Lamb Chops (Tandoor); the Shrimp Ghassi (Handi); and what is almost certainly NYC’s best nann, in prune and walnut, onion and garlic varieties.

When combined with the beauty of the room and the sophistication of the service, it’s clear why Junoon has attained such recognition recently. It is a restaurant to watch, as we expect it will continue to improve.

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INFORMATION

Midtown South
27 W. 24th St.
New York (nr. Broadway)
(212) 490-2100
Mon-Thurs, noon-3pm, 5:30pm-10:30pm; Fri, noon-3pm, 5:30pm-11pm; Sat, 11am-3:30pm, 5:30pm-11pm; Sun, 11am-3:30pm, 5:30pm-10:30pm
    Vikas Khanna, Chef
    Aliya LeeKong, Chef
    Jenny Lee, Executive Pastry Chef
    Tarik Currimbhoy, Designer

    TAGS

    • Indian
    • BYOB Corkage: $35
    • Private Dining Room The Lounge: 30 seated, 100 standing Jaipur Room: 50 seated
    • Tasting Menu 6 Course Tasting Menu: $75 6 Course Tasting Menu with Wine Pairings: $130 6 Course Vegetarian Tasting Menu: $65 6 Course Vegetarian Tasting Menu with Wine Pairings: $120

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