Astoria, Restaurants
Mar 18, 2016

New Spring/Summer A La Carte Menu at Kurry Qulture Launches Sunday

Kurry Qulture has a new Spring/Summer a la carte menu to share starting Sunday, March 20, the first day of Spring.

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We’ve learned that some changes are coming to the menu at Kurry Qulture, and from what we can tell, it’s all good. Sunday, the first day of Spring (despite the predicted snow), brings seasonal delights in an a la carte menu—a departure from their current prix fixe menu—as well as plans to open their back garden space.

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Regarding the change in menu, Vanessa Solomon, one of Kurry Qulture’s owners, reveals the thought process behind it: “The idea behind the seasonal menu is that we would switch over at each season, which is happening on Sunday. In Spring in India people are out, there’s a lot of street food, a lot of small bites, a lot of catching up, and it made sense for us to just scratch the prix fixe menu and make all our Spring/Summer options a la carte, so it’s all an a la carte menu.”

Sonny Solomon, Kurry Qulture’s other owner, loves Spring. “Spring in India is the queen of all seasons. It’s when the colors of the harvest festivals and warmer weather bring people together before the monsoons arrive. Street food and snacks become popular as we reconnect with friends and family.”

Some of the new additions include street food, including Pav Bhaji, “a flavorful blend of vegetables in a tomato gravy served with buttered bread rolls.” This dish originated as a popular lunch among the textile mill worker crowd in 19th century Mumbai. They’re also adding Mung Sprout and Peanut Chaat, a healthy and nutrient dense snack, high in protein and full of flavor (and usually vegetarian). We’re told that it is traditionally served as a warm dish, placed in cones made of recycled newspaper.

Also look for Crispy Okra on the new menu (the Crispy Cauliflower they’ve had on the prix fixe menu was a big hit), and some goat dishes—Spring is a season of holidays, like Holi (this year it’s on March 23), and goat is a popular meat during festivals, especially in the north. You’ll also notice the use of spring spices—e.g., fennel, saffron, mint—in some of the dishes.

India’s principal crop is rice, so Kurry Qulture plans to offer a variety of biryanis—jackfruit, chicken, goat, and perhaps a seafood biryani, too. On the topic of grains, they are excited about the new breadbasket area of the menu, which, along with the breads themselves, they’ll have informative descriptions of the different ones available—around seven different breads will be offered, including naan, paratha, and kulcha, all made with wheat flour.

But with all these changes afoot, Vanessa assures us that some of the most popular dishes they serve, like Rogan Josh, Manchurian Cauliflower, Sweet and Sour Eggplant, and Lamb Chops will stay on the menu. I’m personally a huge fan of the lamb chops, and I know Mackenzi is big on the eggplant (“I do love that dish the most”).

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When I was there last, the cocktails were really well done. Friends were drawn especially to the Sin Till Late, made with fresh blackberries, St. Germain, mint, and prosecco. They also loved the Astoria of My Life, made with bourbon, sweet vermouth, homemade thyme syrup, and fresh figs. I wasn’t drinking that night so I enjoyed a very flavorful mango lassi—and for those who are also looking for a non-alcoholic drink there, they offer kissan punch, sweet lassi and nimbu soda (a sparkly lemon soda—this video apparently compares it to Sprite).

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They are really looking forward to opening the backyard, and a lot of that has to do with the huge tree back there. “We have a really nice tree in the back, and I can’t wait for it to start blooming,” says Vanessa. “And what we’ve done with it we’ve made it a sort of wishing tree. In India there are certain trees that are considered sacred. What people do is they go and tie a string on it and make wishes, so that’s what we’ve kind of done for our tree. While you’re there, you can kind of relax and catch up, with cozy seating, and it’s comfortable.”

As for the opening of the backyard, they are going to wait for warmer evenings until they open it full time. Yes, we’ve had some warm weather lately, but March is so mercurial, you just never know what you’ll get (like this impending Nor’Easter on Sunday night).

We love the food and drinks at Kurry Qulture and are looking forward to heading over and tasting what’s new ourselves. They make some of the best Indian food in the neighborhood, and you’d do yourself a solid to have a meal there.

Kurry Qulture (36-05 30th Ave, Astoria. 718-674-1212)
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About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

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