WHO TO TAKE: YOUR EXPERIMENTAL FRIEND OR SOMEONE WHO IS TRULY FOND OF INDIAN FLAVORS
ARoqa is one of those places that’s full of surprises. One is the dimly-lit space with super curvy wood-slatted high ceiling, that creates a dramatic starkness. The decor only served to highlight the main event: the inventive dishes served in a variety of vessels that made each course a visual sensation. How delightful to receive a trio of bites on the back of a toy pick-up truck or served atop a hand tooled cart. And the flavors? I was blown away by some of the combinations, so unique and taste-bud tantalizing.
Here’s what we sampled that night: 1. Dumplings are always a welcome bite, and these guys are called Vindaloo Momos, stuffed with pork, bacon crumble, green apples, vindaloo sauce. 2. Kandhari Arbi looked kind of like shredded wheat and had colocasia (a Southeast Asian herb), fenugreek bread, and pickled onion salsa. 3. Arriving in the truck came from the Chef’s Table section of the menu, Katafi Mushrooms, which featured wild mushroom on saffron croquettes with a goat cheese relish. 4. My fave dish of the night, a veggie-based appetizer: Sunchokes Chaat—sweet potato, pomegranate emulsion, bean sprouts koshimbir. A unique taste sensation with a delicate sweetness to it. 5. The fish dish was from the Shared Plates section of the menu, and came stacked atop a lentil cake of sorts, the Rechado Macchi—sea bass, lemongrass-kafir curry, beaten rice pilaf. 6. Silbatte Ki Shaami had goat and lentil patties, tossed with pomegranate pearls and topped with fried onions.
The cocktail list here is quite alluring. I tried the Waldorf Euphoria. Quite good. Anyone hankering for Indian flavors should try this place, though if you are in a hurry, the service was a tad slow and uneven.
aRoqa 206 9th Ave (betw 22nd/23rd Sts)