Ever since Taxi Gourmet reader Gluttonous Prime left this haunting comment: “…As for Indian-Chinese in Manhattan, there’s Chinese Mirch right across the street from Curry in a Hurry. It’s always packed, and the spicy crab mu shu is worth the wait,” I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that mu shu.
Yesterday, I finally popped into Chinese Mirch to taste it – along with gobi manchurian (cauliflower with onions and chili peppers) and vegetable ball manchurian (carrot, corn and green bean fritters in a ginger, garlic and cilantro sauce).
Gluttonous Prime was right about the mu shu ($16). How can you go wrong with wok-roasted blue crab, onions, red chili, and red bell peppers? This is mu shu raised to a spicier power (and it was even better at breakfast).
As good as the mu shu was, gobi manchurian ($8.50) stole a bit of its thunder. Curry-battered cauliflower with raw white onion, scallions, fresh ginger, green chili and garlic may not sound terribly seductive (especially if you’re not a cruciferous lover), but I’ve never eaten a more delicious incarnation of cauliflower.
The only off note in the feast was vegetable ball manchurian ($12). Drowning in a cornstarch-heavy cilantro-chili ‘gravy,’ the fritters swelled to soggy and lost their substance. If you go, try the salt and pepper prawns or crispy Szechuan lamb instead (the regular at the table next door said both were amazing).
Chinese migration to India dates back centuries, but the food at Chinese Mirch brings together the immediacy of flavor that grew out of those long-ago border crossings. This is fusion that’ll light a fire in your belly – but they’ve got plenty of Kingfisher to put out the flames.
A deep curtsy to Gluttonous Prime for steering me to the good stuff at Chinese Mirch. Do you have a recommendation for a cheap, tasty, cabbie-friendly place to eat in New York? Send your ‘Reader Fare‘ suggestion to taxigourmet at gmail dot com or share it in the comments section.
120 Lexington Ave. (Murray Hill)
Open: 7 days a week for lunch & dinner
Subway: 6 to 28th St.
Credit cards accepted ($15 minimum)