If you have always been curious about true, traditional Indian cuisine, Chola should be your first stop. Chola NYC is a midtown Indian restaurant waiting to be (re)discovered. Located in Midtown Manhattan’s NYC, this popular destination recently revamped their menu and interior.
Chola’s new interior evokes a touch of old world charm with grey and gold tones throughout. Old black and white photographs are hung throughout that feature coastal scenes from Southern India. This gives a warm and welcoming sense of the history behind the cuisine. Just past the entrance, a bar with gold lamps and an old-fashioned typewriter greets guests. Modern and traditional accents bring everything together while paying homage to Indian culture.
The current menu includes several new additions. New to the menu is the bread station with Indian Flour Breads, which are freshly baked every day in their Tandoor oven stuffed with Old Delhi Butter Chicken and Onion Green Chili.
New starters include the Cafreal Paneer Tikka, a house made fire grilled cheese fresh from the Tandoor oven that comes out smoking with green masala. Karela Karare is a fried bitter gourd with smoky paprika for a sharp bite.
If you love seafood, try Khekda Nariyal. This is a sautéed crab dish with coconut and mustard seeds that will have guests fighting over the last spoonful ($18). Another is the perfectly spiced Scallops Caldin in a Goan yellow coconut curry ($17).
The menu is extensive and takes some time to review. Surely, you will find at least a dozen of so dishes that you would want to try. Highlights include Meen Moilee, a light and flaky Branzino with turmeric, coconut and curry leaves, topped with green banana chips ($26). The Savitri Amma’s Moru Kulambu is a great choice for vegetarians. It is a bounty of white pumpkin, okra, and coconut buttermilk curry ($14).
Traditional Indian desserts can also be found with choices such as a homemade rice pudding, and Indian-style ice cream known as kulfi. I ordered the Gulab Jamun, which is my typical dessert choice.
My particular favorites were the Kori Gassi, a creamy Mangalorean coconut chicken curry with red masala ($22); and Allepy Konju Pappas: Kerala style shrimp curry, kokum, coconut milk ($27). For side dishes, I loved the Coconut Rice: fried appalam, red chilies, coriander ($10); and Kolkata Amm Chutney: sweet mango, panch phoran, black salt ($3).
Certain dishes are noted with a thumbs up symbol, or ones you must try. Gluten, spicy, and very spicy dishes are also noted with symbols. There are several vegan dishes including Adrak ki Gobi Keema, minced cauliflower with green chilies and ginger; and Jeera Methi Alu, home style fresh fenugreek potatoes with roasted cumin.
All dishes on the menu incorporate special in-house oil infused with select herbs and flavored ghee. This creates a perfect opportunity to mix and match your favorite dishes, knowing that they will all pair beautifully together.
The cocktail program is designed by Allen Katz, Owner of the New York Distilling Company. His selection of cocktails includes Himalayan Sunset: Spring 44 vodka, King’s Ginger liqueur, mango puree and fresh lime juice ($13); and East of Manhattan: Ragtime rye, La Copa sweet vermouth and saffron syrup ($14). The restaurant also boasts a curated international wine list.
For non-alcoholic beverages, the Lassis or sweetened yogurt drinks are classics. One to try is the Moru: salted yogurt drinks, spices, and garden herbs ($7). There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of this very traditional beverage. Moru is made with kokum, a souring agent from the tamarind family. It is also made with green chilies, garlic, and a coconut milk base.
View their full Chola menu here.
Location & Hours
Places of interest nearby include Bloomingdales, Dylan’s Candy Bar, and Chola is in within easy walking distance. to Central Park. Also nearby is the tram to Roosevelt Island.
Their unlimited lunch buffet is a great deal. The buffet is served Monday-Thursday ($17.95), and Friday-Sunday ($18.95).
Chola Indian Restaurant in NYC is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Lunch is served Monday-Sunday from 12-3pm. Dinner is served Monday-Saturday from 5-10:45pm, and Sunday from 5-10pm. Takeout and delivery are available.