Friday, March 04, 2011
With its ornate dining room, solicitous service, elevated cooking, and ambitious prices, Junoon, in the Flatiron district, attempts to join the growing ranks of high-end Indian restaurants in New York. While our favorite such place remains Tamarind, Junoon certainly has its moments. The "Tree of Life" cauliflower, fried in garam masala, started the evening off very well, as did the adraki bater, quail marinated in ginger, cumin, and lime and served with citrus fruit that highlighted the delicacy of the meat.
We loved the flavors of the house chutneys, though the absence of papadum or some other vehicle for eating them meant spooning mango slices straight into our mouths. (Not without its pleasures, but not exactly dignified.) The lamb shoulder with papaya juice, unfortunately, was overcooked and a bit dull, especially given the cost, but just when we feared things might go awry, the shrimp gassi arrived. Expertly balanced --- each bite packed a fiery wallop and the smooth sweetness of coconut --- it reminded us how complex and satisfying great curries can be.