[All photos by Conor Rose]
There’s a slew of Indian restaurants (not to mention, restaurants of literally every cuisine imaginable) within a 5 block radius of practically anywhere you stand in Queens, but here’s a new one for your radar: Kurry Qulture. A seasonal Indian restaurant located in the heart of Astoria, Kurry Qulture takes local. fresh ingredients into its culture and serves dishes in a casual yet trendy atmosphere (and there’s a backyard – score!). Their menu has many offerings, one of which is a chef’s tasting menu, covering a selection of their offerings based on the chef’s recommendations and of course, the diner’s own tastes.
I tend to stray from tasting menus due to a gluten allergy and also because these kinds of things seem to have such a high price tag, but no worries here – unfazed by allergies, the KQ team brought out dish after Indian dish that was a combination of authentic and innovative, well worth the $60 price for the meal.
We began with a dainty cup of vegetable fenugreek soup. Though unassuming and not much to look at, each sip was surprisingly complex and packed with flavor, hinting at the tastes to come in the following dishes.
Second course was a sampling of two starters that impressed us right off the bat. The KQ Cauliflower floret with garlic infused ketchup was one of our top bites of the meal, cooked so tenderly it almost could have passed for a chicken nugget dunked in ketchup, which in our opinion, is a wonderful thing. Paired with Shrimp Chettinad, the seafood bite had a slight kick from mustard seeds, as well as a satisfying crunch from the tapioca bed it rested upon.
Kebab sampling: Achari Chicken Tikka, Chicken Buhkni, and Turkey
How someone would be able to choose one of the kebabs from the selection of appetizers is beyond me, but with the tasting menu, we were able to sample three, all topped with housemade chutney. We enjoyed the Achari Chicken Tikka, with a pickling spice marinade; Turkey with a coriander and cumin marinade, topped with cranberry chutney; and finally Chicken Buhkni (the spiciest!) with a three-chili marinade, paired with pineapple chutney.
Karahi Paneer, Beet Carrot Kofta, Sweet and Sour Eggplant
Next on deck was a sampling of vegetarian “wet” dishes. The Karahi Paneer was the traditional Indian version of cottage cheese served with garlic and sweet peppers, served next to a whole baby Sweet and Sour Eggplant, dressed with a tomato-tamarind sauce. The Beet Carrot Kofta was my favorite of the entire meal, essentially a “beetball” drenched in an onion tomato gravy that I wanted to pour over everything. As delicious as everything else on the plate was, I actually ended up dipping everything else in that gravy.
At this point, we had ravaged the first few courses so that by the time we got to the fourth, we had began to slow down. Nevertheless, we powered on. The Duck Bihari was marinated and topped with a tomato gravy, sliced and served with cumin rice – a dish I would have normally gobbled up in a heartbeat, but had to save the last few bites as leftovers (something that I did not regret the next day).
Fifth course was an incredibly tender slow-cooked Bhuna Goat, cooked with whole spices and paired with rice for the gluten-free eaters, and pillowy-crispy garlic and olive oil naan for the glutinous crowd. Not typically part of an Indian menu, goat is Kurry Qulture’s tribute to being immersed in an incredibly Greek neighborhood.
Finally, dessert ended the extensive meal on a delightfully sweet note. There was Gulab Jamun (a small rice doughnut ball soaked in honey and topped with a bit of coconut), Rasmalai (a barely sweet, milky paneer with notes of pistachio) and the creamiest mango cheesecake.
The Blurry SOS
Oh, and let’s not forget the cocktails! With an extensive cocktail list, we indulged in four beautifully crafted drinks throughout the meal, those being the photogenic Blurry SOS (whiskey, homemade blackberry syrup, soda), the bright, tropical No Fire Engine (rosemary infused gin, passionfruit, champagne), the cheekily named and classy Thirstiest Avenue (anejo, Lillet rose, chocolate bitters), and a refreshing Diya (bourbon, ginger beer, fresh ginger).
Before the meal was even halfway over, I was already thinking about who I would recommend this spot to for dinner, whether they’re looking specifically for Indian food or not. If it’s for a date or a group dinner, for someone just dipping their toe into Indian cuisine or for the more experienced eater, trust us – do not sleep on Kurry Qulture.
This meal was provided by Kurry Qulture, a restaurant we truly love. All opinions are our own. For more photos, click here.