Chinese Fire Drill
Last weekend I went home to NY, and my cousin had been raving about this Chinese-Indian (Chindian) fusion place, so I finally checked it out. Chinese Mirch is located at 28th and Lex, conveniently marked by a red and green neon sign. As a disclaimer, I have a mild obsession with Indian food and so I appreciate any fusion cuisine that chooses to include the Indians (dot not feather).
The first thing I noticed when we walked in was how PACKED it was. I mean, I know NYC is the city that never sleeps but it was already well past 9 when we finally got dinner and the place was bumpin’. Also, the clientele was overwhelmingly Indian. Since we are both somewhat brown, our presence wasn’t too conspicuous but we were totes the only non-Indians in the joint. This was a great indicator that the food would be amazing. Nobody goes out to eat their native cuisine unless they know it’s gonna be better than Mom’s home cooking (which is part of the reason I never eat Filipino food out).
The restaurant was modestly decorated, highlighting the minimalism of the Far East while also incorporating some Indian flair. We were seated upstairs and because of the narrow space, the tables were pretty close together. And because minorities are loud, everyone was screaming. My cousin and I felt right at home, as all of our family dinners consist of our relatives speaking at a level no lower than 100 decibals. I obvs fucking loved this place already.
OMFG, and the food. I let my cousin do the ordering since she was the expert. We got their signature Chicken Lollipops as an appetizer. Apparently you don’t go to Chinese Mirch and not get the Chicken Lollipops unless you are stupid. (Disclaimer: We are Chicken Lollipop connoisseurs. We had (incorrectly) assumed that Chicken Lollipops were unique only to our family get-togethers but we were wrong.) Because we eat Chicken Lollipops on every significant holiday, the bar was set high.
Ummm, this chicken lollipop was lifechanging. I’m somewhat familiar with how they are made (having tried to learn the recipe basically since I’ve been born and failing miserably since apparently measuring anything is silly), and was amazed by how much flavor they had. I suspect the meat had been marinated in some sort of chili sauce, as it had a slight red tint to it, and was pretty spicy. The skin was perfectly crisp and delicious from a dip in the deep fryer (win) and was the perfect coating to protect the juicy chicken. The chicken was served with 2 dipping sauces, a gingery one and another one (pictured above) which was like a sweet Thai chili sauce. I confess; I would eat Chicken Lollipops no matter what they were dipped in.
For entrees, we got the Crispy Szechuan Lamb and the Chili Garlic Noodles.
Wooo, boy. First of all, don’t go to Chinese Mirch on a date because everything is hot as fuck (apparently “Mirch” means spicy in Hindi) and not only will your breath be kickin’ but also probs you will need a bathroom relatively soon after eating. Just sayin’. You won’t find any cow or pig on the menu because of the Indian part of the fusion, so we tried the lamb. If you’re not particularly into lamb, you’ll still be into Crispy Szechuan lamb. Crispy, fried and boldly flavored, the lamb at Chinese Mirch is a must-get. It has the familiarity of the Crispy Fried Beef commonly ordered for Chinese takeout, but with a spicy Indian kick. If Kelly Kapoor were food, she would be Crispy Szechuan Lamb. This lamb wins the Spicy Curry Award and schools Andy Bernard in a break dance fight.
The Chili Garlic Noodles tasted exactly like they sound — spicy, garlicky and noodley. They were basically lomein noodles tossed in garlic chili paste. Clearly that didn’t help in cooling the fire in my mouth, but the pain was delicious and worth it. I recommend everyone try Chindian food. It’s genius! Obvs, Chinese and Indian would make a tastylicious food baby.
PS There is a Pinkberry(!) mere blocks from the restaurant on 3rd Ave. Obvs we ignored the dessert options at Chinese Mirch in lieu of tangy, frogurt amazingness.