BY BRADLEY HAWKS
“With our seasonal menu, we are focusing on a climate zone that is very similar to New York,” says Sonny Solomon, owner of Kurry Qulture on 30th Avenue. “In India, the houses are not heated, so the only way they keep themselves warm is with spices like cinnamon, clove, black pepper—and the gravies and sauces they use this time of year are rich and have a kick to them to keep the body warm.”
Dishes on the menu that embrace the heartier fare include rogan josh (lambshank prepared with kashmiri chili, ginger and garlic) and shalgam goat curry (a savory root vegetable stew). “When you eat those dishes, it really warms you up,” Solomon says, smiling. “But we also want to focus on what is available in the New York market, so we have dishes like a turkey keema.”
“Hemant Mathur has graciously helped us design the winter menu,” explains Sonny’s wife, Vanessa Solomon. “Hemant and Sonny are like peanut butter and jelly. They’ve been working together for years, and are the best of friends.” The duo helped earn Michelin stars for both Devi and Tulsi in Manhattan. Now, they have brought their talents to Astoria, which the Solomon family has called home for more than a decade.
Presently, Kurry Qulture offers a $33 prix-fixe menu, which includes soup, two entrees, rice, naan and dessert. The menu is beautifully executed by Chef Ravi Bisht.
A cloud of homemade puri arrives with a peppery mound of minced pumpkin, while salmon and crab croquettes are served with a pickled green chili aioli.
One of the most exceptional dishes I tasted this past year was the Manchurian cauliflower at Kurry Qulture. Crispy coated florets are tossed in a chili tomato glaze, then sprinkled with chives. Portions are more than adequate to share with the table, but trust me, this is one you won’t want to split with anyone.
Chicken kebobs are delicately seasoned with fennel, cardamom, coriander seeds and a sweet apricot chutney. The aforementioned rogan josh quite literally falls from the bone as you lift it from a pool of one of the richest, most delectable sauces to ever dress a lamb shank.
The cocktail menu comes from the whimsical mastery of Bo Dhale and reads like an ode to Astoria. Drinks range from the Thirstiest Avenue to Astoria of My Life. The day we stopped by, Dhale was mixing a homemade chili pineapple syrup that he adds to Mexcal in the Hex-Mex.
Kurry Qulture is housed in a stunning setting with contemporary Indian photography and furniture designed by Solomon. A back patio features a traditional Indian wishing tree, where colorful strings of wishes are knotted to the branches.
For a delicious surprise in a warm setting that is refreshingly easy on the wallet, definitely stop by and check it out. Welcome to the neighborhood, Kurry Qulture.