When it comes to dining out in Astoria, the first cuisine many people still think of is Greek. Truth be told though the neighborhood’s dining scene has been diverse for quite some time with Middle Eastern, Japanese, Eastern European, American comfort food, and upscale Indian. That last category is the sole purview of Kurry Qulture, which was opened by Astoria resident Sonny Solomon and Chef Binder Saini, both of whom hail from the North Indian state of Punjab. The boys and I at Queens Dinner Club love everything on the menu here, including the luscious lamb chops, but we we are also especially fond of the many vegetarian dishes, which is why we are so very excited that Sonny and Chef Binder have created a special vegetarian feast for the next Queens Dinner Club, which will be held March 23. Make sure you don’t miss this very special dinner by signing up for our mailing list here.
The evening’s menu features regional specialties from North India, Punjab, and Mumbai served with fresh made naan and raita, but it all kicks off with a Mumbai Chaat Station. Chaat, the savory snacks that are a street food staple throughout India, will be made to order. A trifecta of Solomon’s favorites—bhel puri, pani puri, and samosa chaat—will be featured. He has fond memories of munching on bhel puri—rice puffs tossed with onion, tomatoes, and mango—while waiting for the bus to go visit cousins in other cities. Pani puri, crunchy whole wheat orbs filled with veggies and doused with tamarind and mint water that shatter in an explosion of flavor are one of my favorite chaat and hold a special place in Solomon’s heart. “We didn’t have any bars in Punjab to meet girls so the pani puri stall was a perfect place to take girls out or check them out,” he recalls. As for samosa chaat, it was a popular childhood treat.
Among the evening’s entrees will be North Indian Saag Paneer Kofta, spinach and cheese fritters and North Indian Kathal Biryani made with jackfruit. Rajasthan will be represented by Kathe Meethe Aloo, a specialty of sweet and sour potatoes. All in all, it promises to be a delicious vegetarian voyage. See you there.