It just so happens that I walked into Delhi Diner
on the eve of their one year anniversary. The owner, Subhash Arora, was working the floor, chatting with customers and occasionally bringing out baskets overflowing with naan. The Albany restaurant is owned and operated by Arora and his wife, and offers an extensive menu that’s a close replica to the family’s former restaurant in New Delhi. All the regular Indian staples are there, but it’s on the small table-top menu where you’ll find the monthly dishes that make this place stand out.
My meal started with the sev puri, a plate of street food-inspired bite-sized pods made with lentil flour and filled with yogurt, chickpeas, potatoes, and tamarind chutney, and topped with chickpea flour crisps. I was instructed to put the whole thing in my mouth and let it pop (an appropriate
comparison would be to a soup dumpling). The tartness of the tamarind and yogurt was more assertive than I expected, almost at the point of too much but oddly refreshing.
The goshth balti, a lamb curry brought out in a tall copper vessel, was the heaviest dish on the August menu. The lamb is cooked for six hours, then stewed with tomatoes, cumin, cloves, back cardamom and cilantro. Hunks of tender meat fell apart, creating an interesting contrast to the bright and juicy red and yellow bell peppers.
Staple favorites include the saag paneer, which goes beyond the basic spinach dish to include mustard leaves, broccoli, and asparagus. For dessert, the mango mousse is essentially pureed mangos and cream, so I’m not sure who wouldn’t clean that bowl. If you're really into mango, September's specials include a mango chicken curry.
“Delhi food is pretty flamboyant,” says Arora. “We bring in food from all over India but much of the spices are typical of Delhi and the way they’re combined allows them to kind of stay in the backdrop and not dominate.” On Friday and Saturday nights live sitar music plays in the restaurant backdrop, so you may want to pay a visit then.