This whole lifting of the ban on kitniyot is a GAME CHANGER. Basically, for the last 800 years a whole bunch of foods were considered no-nos during Passover (corn, rice, beans), but now they are a-ok. True, I had pretty much relaxed my observance of that rule in recent years because I didn’t agree with it, but now it’s officially fine to eat that stuff and I don’t have to feel bad about it.
Being able to eat these food items opens up a whole new world of restaurant dining during Passover. It meant my beau and I could have a special date night last Tuesday before he left town for business. I chose Indian because I wanted to go with something rice-based. While I don’t keep kosher year-round, I do observe the regular rules of kosher during Passover. That means for those 8 days I don’t eat anything with flour (Passover rule) or pork, shellfish, or meat and dairy together (normal kosher rule that observant Jews observe all year and I only follow during Passover).
I picked Bhatti because it was a spot in our Curry Hill neighborhood I had been wanting to try and because they had a lot of vegetarian options. Since I won’t mix meat and dairy during Passover, I just eat vegetarian-style at restaurants. Since there is butter (dairy) hidden in so many things, it’s just easier to not eat meat.
First of all, the wait staff was so nice and attentive. It just made for a pleasurable meal. The food was also quite tasty. While I didn’t try either of Albert’s dishes – tandoori murgh and chicken tikka masala – he seemed very happy with both. I’ll have to go back and try the kabobs because the chicken looked the opposite of dried out – not always easy to accomplish. For my appetizer, I tried a dish I had never had, bharwaan mushrooms, which are mushrooms stuffed with a cottage cheese and spice mix. It was wonderful. With three large button mushrooms, it was the perfect sized starter. I then ordered the methi malai matar, which is a creamy sauce of peas and fenugreek. I’m used to this having paneer in it and probably would have preferred that. It needed maybe something to give it a little salt and/or to chomp down on. It was still very good, especially when I added just a bit of the onion chutney they give you as one of the condiments when you sit down.
Like most of the Indian restaurants in the neighborhood, Bhatti is small with modern, metallic touches (like the wallpaper). It’s a fun local spot that we have officially deemed good enough to add to the Indian rotation.