Often an amalgam of various regional approaches to the cuisine, Indian food tends to mirror the vision of the restaurateur who conceives it. At Kurry Qulture in Astoria, Queens, that vision has produced a succulent treasure of seasonal flavors, authentic recipes, inspired preparations and exceptional service.
To conceive the menu, friendly and engaging owner Sonny Solomon recruited celebrated chef Hemant Mathur—the first Indian chef in the U.S. to receive a Michelin star—while enlisting refined Indian chef Ravi Bisht to handle menu execution. The menu spans from the traditional to the adventurous, cooked with fresh Indian and local ingredients that come together like works of art, presented in a modern setting that feels upscale, yet curiously comfortable.
Kurry Qulture presents its menu as a multi-course prix fixe, which includes soup, two courses and dessert. A seasonal restaurant, Kurry Qulture is serving its hearty winter menu through the end of March, when it will switch to lighter, spring fare. And on a cold winter night, few offerings are more appreciated than a cup of roasted pumpkin soup—dynamically flavored and robust, without a hint of that thin, pumpkin-spiced flavor we are all too familiar with.
For the first course, eaters would be wise to try the Manchurian Cauliflower—crisp, coated florets tossed in a chili tomato glaze, this dish might be the most surprising bite of the year. Other first-course standouts include the Shrimp Chettinad, with mustard seeds, coconut and curry leaves, as well as Apricot Chicken Sheesh Kabab, with fennel, cardamom, coriander seeds and apricot chutney.
In the second course, the Phool Makhane Ki Sabji is second only to the Manchurian Cauliflower in terms of newfound food addiction. The Phool, a deeply flavored curry, is made with lotus puffs, ricotta cheese and green peas, perfectly paired with a side of naan. The lotus puffs provide an unmatched texture, pillowy and semi-crunchy all at once.
Another hearty event on the second course menu is the Rogan Josh with lamb shank, Kashmiri chili ginger and garlic. The intensely tender lamb is served in a rich, delectable sauce. Lamb also shines in the form of chops, which are Tandoori-grilled with mace, cardamom and apple chutney.
For a sweet end to the meal, the server presents a trio of desserts that is tasty and just sweet enough.
Kurry Qulture makes itself a Queens dining destination with its stunning setting and contemporary decor—it makes itself a food destination with its inspired approach to a time-honored cuisine.
Kurry Qulture is located at 36-05 30th Ave. in Astoria, Queens, and is open seven days a week from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner and until midnight at the bar.