As part of a new Flatiron location, just a few steps from where it debuted over a decade ago, the pioneering New Yorker restaurant Junoon reopened in the last days of June 2021 with its authentic, elegantly modern style. With the goal of serving fantastic dishes that push back on the traditional perception of the public on Indian Food, Junoon gained the trust and respect of the city.
Opening in 2010, Junoon earned a Michelin Star and preserved it for eighth consecutive years, making it the first Indian restaurant in the United States to achieve this honor. In addition to Smoked Masala Ribs and Mushroom and Truffle Khichdi, Chef Akshay Bhardwaj offers Eggplant Chaat. The dessert menu features unique twists on Indian sweets, such as Gustavo Tzoc’s “Cricket,” composed of chikoo shrikhand mousse, coconut grass and guava.
The restaurant’s menu is accompanied by a distinguished wine program that pairs Western wines with Indian cuisine for a truly unique dining experience. In addition to the Mumbai Margarita with mango purée, rose-chili syrup and cilantro-chili maldon salt, the general manager and Mixologist Hemant Pathak also incorporates the many herbs, fruits, and spices used in Indian cooking on these amazing cocktails.
LA VITA È BELLA
It uses natural elements throughout the space, as it did with its original location, combining modern elegance with Indian artistry. With fewer tables, seating only 42 people in the main dining room, the restaurant now offers a more intimate ambiance!
We’ve had the immense pleasure of having one of the most pleasant dining experiences. After quickly being led to our table by one of the employees, we saw ourselves surrounded by one of the most gorgeous atmospheres – cozy yet luxurious – and feeling completely at ease. We started by ordering one of the newest cocktails, the Drunken Dehli, composed by an indian dry gin – the Jin JiJi – and a traditional indian spice mix – the jaljeera – mixed with chinola-passion fruit liqueur, lime and Angostura bitters. A balanced and low alcohol drink, the indicated start to a fantastic evening.
Analyzing the new menu by Chef Akshay Bhardwaj, we could see the classics everyone knew and loved on the earlier days but also the finest additions that exude the creative thinking that will mesmerize your palate. It was a difficult choice to make, as we scanned through every dish there was something in it that would spark significant interest, the struggle to fight the urge of ordering each item of the menu was immense. But at last, we landed on the Ghost Chile Murgh Tikka as the small plate.
As soon as we received the plate, we were starstruck by its presentation. Refined and neat, everything was in its rightful place, making it look appetizing, and yet you wouldn’t want to tear it apart, just like a work of art. The tandoor chicken thighs, perfectly cooked and well seasoned, nestled in the ramp mousse, co-joined with the distinctly flavored pistachio crumble and grape chutney. As you taste the mixture of flavors and textures, you can easily understand why this is one of the most requested plates.
Following up with one of the latest additions to the menu, the Tandoori Octopus – this is a once in a lifetime gastronomy experience. Chef Bhardwaj had the attentive care of explaining how the dish is prepared and it left us speechless. The tentacles marinate in various spices for a good amount of time, absorbing every flavor, and cook for three hours at a low temperature – a careful and innovative approach of cooking. The dish comes served with red chili aioli and confit fingerling potatoes, just the right additions to this already stunning dish.
Ending the night on the perfect note, with a distinguished service through every minute of the time we spent there, we ordered the famous “Cricket,” a dessert composed of chikoo shrikhand mousse, coconut grass, and guava. A sublime delicacy that turned out to be the perfect closing touch to a premier meal.
Words can not begin to describe this elite restaurant and incomparable menu, you must try it for yourself to really get a grasp on how exquisite it all really is. Lunch is served Thursday through Sunday at Junoon, which is open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner, takeout, and delivery. In addition to signature pantry items, desserts, drinks, and giftboxes, guests can also order online for pick-up or local delivery through Caviar at the newly-launched Junoon Marketplace. Among the highlights are custom blends of tea, hand-painted chocolate bonbons, and signature spice blends.
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