After Gothamist learned that Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez, the former pastry chef at L'Impero, was opening up a hole-in-the-wall North Indian take-out joint named Lassi, Gothamist decided to head over late last night to see how successfully a sultan of sweet could transition to over to savory. Inspired by the Punjabi cuisine of Purva Sudan, one of Carlucci-Rodriguez's students at the Institute of Culinary Education, the West Village storefront offers quick Indian food to take out, in addition to catering, and a few seats inside for a chance to sit down.
One of the three chalkboard menus was half-erased when we arrived; the server explained they'd had more business than expected and sold out of other entrees. Gothamist and our dining guests decided to split several items, opting for the Shahi Chicken, moist chicken cutless in a nutty, sauce with ground almonds and peanuts. Another dining guest, a vegetarian, tried Carlucci-Rodriguez's Rajma, a traditional dish of rice and beans, often stewed with turmeric, tomatoes, and a variety of spices. Gothamist noted that while the dishes were delicious, they were also mild; a little spice would add some flare.
Two other chalkboard list varieties of parathas, a grilled, stuffed bread, and flavors of lassi, the yogurt-based shake of the restaurant's namesake. The potato paratha Gothamist ordered arrived searing hot with oil glistening off its skin. A doughy flatbread, it was filled with a thin layer of spiced, mashed potato, delicious with the accompanying yogurt sauce. Parathas are also offered plain, with cauliflower, daikon, cheese or goat at $3.95 to $4.95 a piece.
The highlight of the meal, eaten off a cafeteria style tray while perched on the high wooden benches lining the north side of the tiny restaurant's width, was unquestionably the lassi drink. Gothamist stuck with the reliable mango flavor, a favorite and necessary part of our Indian meals, but will return as soon as humanly possible to try the cardamom, coconut, and even plain lassi, which a dining companion assured was delicious.
Lassi is a convenient stop in for a hot meal on the go. The parathas can be wrapped and carried while walking, the lassis sipped while on a sunny Sunday stroll. Anyone looking for a quick, savory, and satisfying fix ought to stop in at 28 Greenwich Avenue, if not to eat, then at least to see the design-savvy menus and business cards designed by Jennifer Muller of the Lucky Tangerine Design Studio.
Lassi, 28 Greenwich Avenue at Charles Street, West Village