Badshah is a new modern Indian joint on 9th and 52nd that’s headed up by the former executive chef from Babu Ji, Charles Mani.
The restaurant is small, yet spacious and uncramped, unlike many joints in the area. The dining room is bright and airy, with whitewashed exposed brick and a great bar with excellent cocktails, mixed up by the joint’s talented and friendly bartender, Warren.
We tried the Mumbai Old Fashioned (whiskey with licorice and cardamom); the Indian Rose (mandarin orange vodka, peach, cranberry and rose petals); and the Sassy Lassi (mango lassi with coconut rum): All delicious.
Chef Charles is doing some great things here! My wife and I came in for a press meal, so we were able to sample a lot of items from the menu. Here’s a rundown of the meal:
The meal opened with these bite-sized, crispy street snacks that were filled with chutney. A great way to wake up the taste buds.
Our first app was the cauliflower. Chef Charles is known for this dish, which received a lot of food media attention when it was on the menu at Babu Ji. It’s satiating, filling and really delicious. It almost reminds me of something like the flavors you get from a really satisfying order of General Tso’s chicken, only with a more enjoyable sauce, a lighter feel and much less greasy.
Next was the potato and pea samosas with fenugreek sauce. Man. That sauce is something else! So deeply rich with flavors, and really velvety in texture. Winning app dish for me!
The third app was the southern style mussels. At this point in the meal I knew this chef was a master, because every sauce he brought out to us was incredible. I feel like that’s the ultimate sign of a great chef. Anyone can learn to cook a protein properly. But sauce work is like an art.
We drank this stuff up, while intermittently dunking the garlic naan into the remainder.
And let me tell you something about the naan: It’s the best I’ve ever had. It was light, airy and crispy, yet pillow-soft. I was blown away by this stuff. Just perfect in every way. We tried both the regular and the garlic, and both were awesome.
Our first entree was the salmon with coconut curry. The salmon was cooked perfectly. It had a char and crisp on the outside, but nice and pink/orange through the center. The plating was beautiful, because the fish wasn’t buried in the curry, but, rather, sitting nicely on top. The curry (which is like a sauce) was yet again top notch quality. It was silky smooth, creamy, and mild yet dense with flavor.
Our second entree was the cardamom and clove masala lamb chops. These babies were so tender and flavorful. The spices didn’t overpower the protein, which often happens with aggressive Indian oven-cooked or grilled proteins. They had just the right amount of spice to compliment and highlight the flavor of the lamb.
Finally, we enjoyed some homemade cardamom and pistachio ice cream. I loved the flavors here, and there were some nice pieces of pistachio mixed in.
I’m really happy this place is in my neighborhood. I’ll be going back to try the butter chicken, chicken tikka and onion seed naan for sure, among other menu items. Badshah means “Great King.” Well, this place has some Great fuc-King food! Go give it a shot.
UPDATE AUGUST 2017
I came back in with a group of friends to celebrate a birthday. We all tried the tasting menu, and it was excellent.
Check out the beautiful plating.
The Tandoori chicken was amazingly flavorful and tender.
And Chef Charles brought out a new item from his upcoming seasonal menu.
788 9th Ave
New York, NY 10019