Modern Indian Cuisine at Badshah

The Hell's Kitchen restaurant scene grows bigger and better every day, most recently with the arrival of Badshah, a restaurant helmed by Babu Ji veteran Chef Charles Mani. The small space is bright and lively with an open window overlooking the hustle of 9th Avenue and a playful mustache mural on the back wall depicting the whimsical characteristic of Chef Charles himself.

The menu here is listed as Modern Indian cuisine but Chef Charles will tell you that's he prefers the term "inauthentic".  He learned the foundations of Indian cooking from his mother growing up in Chennai but has since furthered his academics with a culinary degree and is constantly tinkering with classic dishes and remaking them in his own "inauthentic" style.

The meal began with Gol Goppa, a traditional Indian road side dish of crispy semolina stuffed with chutney.  This bite sized snack was surprisingly beautiful with bright red and green chutneys hidden in in the center.  It was the perfect amuse bouche, waking up all the senses for things to come.

Quinoa Tikki is a great example of Chef's "inauthentic" cooking style. Instead of the usual heavy mushroom and green pea patty Chef Charles uses quinoa tossed with diced potato and black eyed peas bringing a much lighter, almost tropical flavor to the dish paired with a mango ginger sauce.

Head-On Jumbo Prawns served plump and juicy with strong smoky flavors imparted from roasted cardom seeds...

...while Chef cooked the Tandoori Chicken "Texas style" with a dry rub of whole spices and creamy yogurt giving it an extra spicy kick. 

The most famous item on the menu has to be the Badshah Cauliflower, a dish brought over from chef's days at Babu Ji. These delicious veggie bites were fried creating a crispy spicy exterior similar to a General Tso's chicken dusted in black and white sesame seeds. 

For those looking for the full Badshah experience I highly suggest the Chef's Tasting menu which showcases a variety of appetizers, sides and entrees.

The Butter Chicken was one of the highlights of the meal.  Even thought I was beyond full I couldn't help but go back for more of that creamy, buttery sauce.  Of course the soft, airy Naan studded with garlic was enough reason to return as well.

In addition to the wonderful food at Badshah there is an inventive cocktail menu.  Our fantastic bartender kept whipping up incredible drinks like the creamy Sassy Lassi made with coconut rum and mango puree, the gorgeous Indian Rose with mandarin orange vodka and rose petals...

...and our favorite of the night the Desi Rum Punch a delicious blend of Indian Rum, apricot and pineapple.

Badshah was a fantastic meal.  Chef's Charles passion for his restaurant came across in every way from the playful decor, to the inventive Indian cuisine and the way he interacted with each and every guest in the restaurant; making sure they enjoyed eating his food as much as he enjoyed making it. 

788 9th Avenue at 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019