I opted for Chinese Mirch. Chinese Mirch has been on this corner for many years, but I have never tried it. The only Indo-Chinese restaurant I generally go to is Jackson Heights' Talk of the Town. Now I have one to go to in Manhattan also. As noted outside, this is a place for Chinese food, with Indian flavors.
At lunchtime at Chinese Mirch, you have two specials you can choose from, if you do not want to order entrees off of the main menu. There are lunch box daily specials, ranging in price from $7.99 - $10.49, depending on your choice of protein or vegetable. With your entree, you get either steamed Basmati or brown rice. In addition to the lunch box, they also have a daily lunch special, where you receive an appetizer, main course with rice and a dessert for $9.99. I opted for this.
For appetizer, the choices were spring rolls, chicken dumplings, vegetarian momo and a few soups. I opted for the chicken dumplings.
For a second, I forgot I was in an Indo-Chinese restaurant and dunked my dumpling full force into the accompanying sauce. Wow, was that an eye opener! My mouth was on fire!!! When I had cooled down, I ate the dumpling slowly, carefully dipping in the accompanying sauce. The dumpling was full of flavor and lots of cilantro boosted the chicken flavor. When used in moderation, the spicy accompanying sauce complimented the flavors well. I definitely did not need the tray of accompanying sauces for the table, which included more spicy sauces, as well as soy.
For the entrees, every day is a different sauce - Manchurian, Honk Kong, etc. and you get your choice of chicken, vegetable or fish to be served with the sauce. Today was Monday and it was Manchurian Day. I ordered the chicken. I have never had this before and it was delicious, with a smoky, soy flavor and just a little bit of heat at the end. It was the perfect balance of soy and chile.
For dessert, there was green tea or vanilla ice cream, as well as Mango Mousse or Gulab Jamun. I had not had some Gulab Jamun in quite a while, which is my all time favorite Indian sweet. It was perfect; served warm. It was light and airy; not heavy like the restaurant versions sometimes tend to be. All the desserts are served in Martini glasses.
The restaurant also has a great atmosphere. Dark wood paneling with leather cushioned seats, simple white plates and red cloth napkins lead to a clean, modern look. A full bar, with signature cocktails, not to mention a friendly staff. Chinese Mirch is a great place for a casual lunch or a dinner to celebrate a birthday.
They are also growing and are now a franchise restaurant organization, so if you would like to open a franchise, this is one place I would go to, in any city!
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