Submitted By Crystal Chan-Long, June 7, 2017-1:37 am
New York City is a town where many quality Indian restaurants may be found—and there’s certainly no shortage of them along East 6th Street off First Avenue in Downtown Manhattan … an area that has for many years been known for its subcontinental offerings. But one of them stands out brightly among the pack: Milon, a longtime eatery that justifies its tenure on the block by serving more than decent food for shockingly inexpensive prices in a wildly wacky atmosphere reminiscent of holiday season in a Big Apple nightclub.
Situated near a cluster of other Indian spots, Milon—whose entrance is marked by a narrow door—might easily be overlooked if you’re searching for something other than a local provisioner. Once you drop in, however, a festive, warm space presents itself. Lit vibrantly with a ceiling full of glowing chili pepper string lights, Milon is downright fun and colorful, and the small tables lined alongside the gift-wrapped walls (hung with a selection of framed pictures) add to the charmingly bizarre atmosphere.
There’s a large menu with myriad options, many being standards at nosheries around Gotham. On the day that I arrived, a very courteous server took my order of the “Milon Special Dinner,” which may be crafted for one or for two. The first course came out quickly: a tomato-based lentil soup, hot and oh-so-satisfying, abundant with soft lentils and sprinkled with coriander. Next, I received an appetizer plate of various Indian bites—including a vegetable samosa and crunchy, cracker-like papadum. My favorite out of the starters was definitely the banana pakora; golden and crispy on the outside, the fritter was sweet and chewy on the inside, with a gooey fruit filling …quite gratifying.
Thankfully, there was more goodness to come—to be specific, the main entree, which as part of this dinner package offered a choice: curry masala, bhuna masala, or kurma (also known as korma) with a choice of protein. I went with the lamb kurma, and Milon’s version did not disappoint. Creamy and savory, the dish was loaded with chunks of tender lamb and saturated with a thick sauce. Add some well-prepared basmati rice, and that’s pretty much as good as it gets.
I ended the meal with a scoop of mango ice cream—a light, cool contrast to the spices featured during the rest of the meal. Milon also offers a selection of drinks, including the classic, yogurt-based lassi in a variety of flavors … mango, strawberry and banana among them. A salty iteration also is offered for those who want to go a less-sweet route.
The bill may cause you to gasp in amazement at how reasonable everything is. No wonder Milon has been here for what seems like forever. Guess there’s a good reason for everything right?
Certainly, that holds water when it comes to munching tasty fare.
Photos by Crystal Chan-Long