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May 09, 2007



I ended up at Panna II last year on the day before my birthday. My friend stealthily told the waiters this, and next thing I knew the lights were going crazy, and an insane Indian speed techno birthday song was playing over the sound system! I was described as have a look of "pure joy" on my face! I love Panna II!


i LOVE "Curry Alley" no matter what anyone says. I always go to Ghandi because they have the clear edge in service.


Mike I was eating at Haveli's when you walked by! (first time too - not bad - but yes, $$) As for the competing fire-trap dives, One weekend as I was walking by I witnessed a gaggle of well dressed young people arguing over the oft-overheard legend that one of the two eateries is actually 'better than the other' when a weather-beaten old timer walking along side of me growled out: "Fuggetabout it - they both suck" !!


God. I remember Sonali. They were great. RIP.

Been a while since I lived in New York, and since moving to San Francisco there are things about 6th Street (and NY Indian food,) that I seriously miss. There isn't the regional diversity out here that there is in NY: It is pretty much all Pakistani-style, which is great, but you have to go far to get good South-Indian food, and the thing I particularly miss about 6th Street is bananna pakoras-- They're just not to be found out here.

Does anyone remember Gaylord? It was a pricy, white-tablecloth place around the corner from 'the block,' on 1st between 5th and 6th. They closed around '93 or so. They were popular & fantastic, I don't see why they closed at all. Enormous pooris the size of basketballs, mind-blowing chutneys & currys, and a huge tray of sweets after the meal. Also, Gaylord seemed to be the chosen place of the downtown stars: at different times I saw Allen Ginsberg, John Zorn and Kembra Pfahler in there.


Try that place that's on the ground floor from Panna II. It used to be pretty good. But frankly, the old man was right, they all kinda suck. Those two guys above are always fighting, I think it's a gimmick to draw crowds, or perhaps just to break up the boredom. I remember tempting them once by walking up the steps, and feigning indecision, then walking away to a wash of sputtering and convulsive sounds. Such fun.

BTW, Who would have imagined that the East Village would become Little Tokyo? What I really miss there are the bookstores. Especially the old East Village Books. You could pick up such diverse titles as "The Yage Letters" by Bill Burroughs and "Experimental Atomic Physics" by Harnwell & Livingood. Plus you could pick up girls in the adjacent religious/psychedelic section. More such fun.


Hell, if that's not real Indian food than I don't know what is and am no worse for it.


It's not, and you are, Chop.

For better, hike uptown into the 20's on that side of town, around 4th Ave if I remember. There's a strip of indian joints and some rockin' indian deli's (the big one is always featured in the papers, and has it's own mini-restarant inside). The place I remember best specialized in breads, and it was sweet indeed. Plus, there's a little place on the side street that'll make you a fresh betel nut chew. Tasty, and it'll give you quite a euphoric buzz. Nice thing to round your meal out with. Come to think of it, I should trek out there again.


You're thinking of the mostly veggie Indian places on Lexington around 28th. They're yummy, but it's the slightly greasy $7 dinner at Sonar Gaow on which I was raised, and to which I return again and again.

(For added cultural dissonance, try the "kosher veggie" places on Lexington on a Friday night...)


Banjara on 1st and 6th rules the block in my opinion. A little pricier, no blaring lights and techno vibe though, in fact a little stodgy and too prim inside. Sit outside, totally worth it.


I agree on Banjara at 1st Ave and 6th St. They're worth some extra bucks. Also, Gandhi is not bad. Most of the others are pretty mediocre. I also have to agree that the restaurants uptown at Curry Hill (a.k.a. Murray Hill) around Lexington and 27th are better overall. It's been a while, but Pongal, Chennai Garden, and Madras Mahal were very good last time I was there, although those are all South Indian veg. Another good South Indian veg. place is Madras Cafe on 2nd Ave. between 4th and 5th.

Until you've had really good Indian food, you won't know what you're missing. Savor it!

Dale Hazelton

Panna II was it for me, I just loved the lights grazing the top of my head, and the fact that every outlet in the place HAD to be overloaded. We lived on 4th between 1sr and 2nd before it became swanky.,I bemoan the loss of the real Kiev, the International Bar and the original Cooper Diner where Quentin Crisp held court. There are few places left where you can get by on even a ten spot for something small or fast. A shame really. Who created this new generation of kids with botomless pockets?

Bronwyn C.

My very first "real" date with Sluggo--after he dumped his other two girlfriends (at my insistence) so we could finally go out in Manhattan instead of slinking around Brooklyn--included dinner at Sonali. As far as I could tell, the food did taste as if it were extruded from the same pipe as all the other restaurants on the block, but it was my sentimental favorite forever after, always associated in my mind with a sweet kiss on the cheek. R.I.P. Sonali.

Mike Lupica

Dale: Oh man, don't get me started on the loss of International Bar. That was the best, yet most depressing place in the East Village. A friend and I had a great idea that we could open a place like that in Paris and make a million bucks, knowing the French's appreciation for all things American. The Dirty Bottled Beer Bar is something that is painfully absent from French Culture.

Benjamin: Ha, funny you saw me walking past Haveli! I assure you, I had nothing to do with that bullet hole, and I hope your meal was free of scampering vermin.

I'm surprised that no one has yet mentioned the amazing Indian fare that's available in Jersey City (Newark Ave., near the Journal Square PATH station) or out in Jackson Heights, Queens. I'm not a huge fan of buffet-style dining, but the Jackson Diner's weekend brunch has definitely motivated me to brave the 7 train, even during Mets season.


Yeah Mike, word is that Queens is the place for the real deal. But one of you knuckleheads is gonna have to scout it out; I lost my unlimited metropass when I quit my day job. Maybe the geeks at chowhounds can lend some advice...

Thanks Phooky for pinning that locale, eat there with one hand in the air like you just don't care! (grin)

Dale Hazelton

Mike, anyplace that had Loretta Lynn singing "Apartment #9" on the jukebox had to be treasured. That and the fact that the International was one of the only places left to get a beer for a buck -- albeit a Genny Cream Ale -- means it shoulda' been saved. I stopped going to the Holiday years ago when it got so that you needed a gas mask to enter (I wonder how much cigarette smoke that little black dog that lived there in the 80's inhaled). If you can't start the International franchise in Paris, how about an exact re-creation in Las Vegas?

Next topic: The Aztec Lounge?

jim hildreth

I live directly above Sonali and praise Kali every day they closed, scummers would not fix their exhast fan and my apt was literally shaking every night until 12. Of course, they don't have the alleged boy prostitutes like one other rest. right nearby, kids brought over from Pakistan and turned out.

Ghandi has horrible service but the food is great.


Uh, horrible bugs too last we were there.

Lex Medved

I shall miss it too. I live in NJ, but work occaisionally in NY. I used to keep a menu in my glove compartment, and on the way home I'd call on my cell, place an takeout order. Get there in a bout 20 min. Double Park, run in, get my stuff, leave a nice tip, and they always knew me. Sorry to see it go.

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