June 01, 2008

The Best Biryani in New York

sangam awningResize Wizard-1 Omigod! I think I may just have eaten the best biryani there is in New York City! Sangam is that proverbial hole-in-the-wall restaurant (it only seats six) that serves fantastic food from a limited menu. For most such places, the hype usually overshadows the food, but for Sangam, believe the hype, man (or at least get there fast, before the hype does overshadow the food).

As for the hype, here's what you need to know. I actually found and ate every last grain of rice of the biryani that we got on our last visit, literally - including a few that had fallen off my plate and on the table (much to the disgust of my date). I gnawed at the lamb bones. I even ate the frikkin' raita! I thought of my Mom.

In addition to the biryani (of which there are lamb, chicken and vegetarian variants), Sangam makes a Nargisi roll to die for. My only grouch is that they use ground chicken instead of lamb or beef. And for dessert, there is phirni, which, no exaggeration, will take you back to Birhana Road in Kanpur.

They have some vegetarian dooh-dahs - samosas, veggie rolls and the like - which are probably quite good too (I have no idea, 'cause I didn't try them - see no reason to).

Here's the kicker - Two people can eat there for under 30 bucks! The biryanis go for $7 - $9 depending on what you get, the rolls are $8 for a pair and the phirni is $3. And... on weekends they're open till 2 in the morning!

Someone please wake me - this has got to be a dream.

Apparently Ishrat Ansari, one of the co-owners started the restaurant because his wife made the biryani for some friends, word spread and soon they were deluged with requests for more. I say, good call Ishrat.

Sangam, 190 Bleecker St., New York, NY 10012. Ph: 212.228.4648. Open 1PM - 11PM M-T; 1PM - 2AM F-S.


Anonymous said...

Well...after reading the awesome reviews about this restaurant at many sites, I decided to go there. I got the chicken biryani, nargisi roll, chicken anar daana kabab and phirni. The chicken biryani was just about OK...good thing was that it wasn't very oily. The nargisi roll was the only thing I really liked. I have had much better kababs and phirni. I really don't understand all the hype. Maybe I'll give it the benefit of doubt and try some other items on their menu.

aim said...

I think 2008-9 was the height of the now closed-down Sangam, unfortunately.

The good news for us is that the newer establishment next door, Masala Times, has some great dishes--mostly kabab-oriented. There are rumours that the owner is taking over the old Sangam and opening something similar.