A look inside Baazi, the Upper West Side’s newest Indian restaurant

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In late January, chef Gaurav Anand opened Baazi at 2588 Broadway (at 97th Street), formerly the home of Awadh, whom he had run there since 2014.

“Gaurav’s cooking style has evolved into a unique personal vision that incorporates Mediterranean and South Asian influences and ingredients to deliver unexpected flavors and lighter dishes,” reads a statement from hurry. You won’t find traditional Indian dishes on Baazi’s menu.

Some standout plates include Chicken Cafereal and Trout Recheado, two Goan specialties with Portuguese influences; Koliwada cod fish and chips with Gaurav’s signature okra fries; and a yoghurt skewer with a papadam crust; and tamarind-glazed lamb chops.

Chicken Cafe – photo by Evan Sung

Baazi Koliwada fish

Koliwada fish – photo by Evan Sung

Baazi Imli Glazed Lamb Chops by Evan Sung

Glazed lamb chops – photo by Evan Sung

Baaz forgoes samosas, paneer or chana masala, featuring Gaurav’s unique vegetarian dishes on skewers, butter chicken and more.

Papad Kebab (open box) by Evan Sung

Papad Kebab (open box) – photo by Evan Sung

The name Baazi (“bet” in Hindu) refers to Gaurav’s decision to try his hand at a different and more sophisticated concept, despite the challenges of the pandemic, while his other restaurants focus on regional cuisines.

Although still rooted in Indian culinary tradition, Baazi forgoes heavy dishes, hearty flavors and powdered spices, instead coaxing natural flavors from raw ingredients. For example, instead of coriander powder, Gaurav uses roasted whole coriander seeds.

Gaurav Anand came to the United States more than twelve years ago with the dream of succeeding in New York. Starting with Bhatti Indian Grill, he built a group of three restaurants in New York, including New York Times Moti Mahal Delux and Awadh, two stars, as well as restaurants in New Delhi and Goa. He also launched his high-end catering business, working on weddings all over the world, from Mexico and the Caribbean to Italy and from France to Turkey. When the pandemic hit, his events were canceled and he spent time developing new recipes.

Baazi’s two-level space was designed to evoke a Mediterranean feel with a vibrant blue and yellow palette, an Instagram-worthy wall of flowers, and a living indoor olive tree. A new 24-seat heated outdoor dining area is reminiscent of the feeling of sitting in a café in Morocco or Turkey. There is no delivery or takeout, a first for Gaurav as Baazi is designed to be a restaurant dining experience.

Bar Baazi by Evan Sung

The bar – photo by Evan Sung

The upstairs dining room – photo by Evan Sung

Main floor dining room – photo by Evan Sung

To learn more about the new restaurant, visit baazi.us.

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