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East Village (NYC): Curry Tonight?

Saturday August 11th — Curry Row, East Village, NYC

A Sensory Experience:

The evening breeze kissed my skin, and the aloof aroma of curry spices — cumin, chilies, coriander, and turmeric — tagged along to mingle with my palate in a courting ritual.

Window air-conditioning units hummed in sync with the casual swish of passing vehicles; their cadence occasionally jarred by a sudden jolt in RPM’s.

Samplings of Spanish, Chinese, and German dialects rhapsodized in the background alongside English tongues, some cloaked in European accents.

A female, rapping with alarming purpose, stole the lead. I pictured a celli smoldering her ear as her head bopped side-to-side in rhythm. Her lyrical crescendo: Don’t fuckin’ call me again!

Inspired by the scents and sounds of Curry Row, the above vignette was experienced with eyes shut. I recorded the moment while waiting for some friends.

And now the rest of the story…

During my conversation with the guy behind the bar at Brick Lane Curry House (I am pretty sure he was more than a bartender), I learned that the row experienced a significant downturn about 6 years ago.

Curry Row continues to reinvent itself, after a New York Times article, written several years ago, echoed public sentiment: All of the food seemed to come from the same kitchen.

Numerous restaurants went belly up, surrendering to new restaurateurs with niche vision. The makeover invited ethnic variety. Everything from Ethiopian to Chinese restaurants line the street today.

Brick Lane Curry House, serves dishes inspired by restaurants housed on the famed lane in East London. Keep an eye out for a restaurant review in Time Out New York (scheduled for print in September or October). My friends and I enjoyed the extra kick of heat and spices in our meals — British Style.

True foodies — like my friend who used to be a chef on the row — will probably argue the authenticity of the eats. But prices are reasonable and metered parking plentiful by Manhattan standards.

The guy at Brick Lane mentioned that 50% of the street’s patrons are international travelers who track down Curry Row with their handy guidebooks. No wonder I heard so many dialects on a small stretch of 6th Street that I suspected would be inundated with locals. So, if you are looking to drop in on an international scene (or an exotic tryst) — in a city that is already the ultimate melting pot — while eating a decent meal, Curry Row is a flavorful option.


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