Sleek Indian Food Among the Chili Pepper Lights

A couple weeks ago, restaurateur Shiva Natarajan opened up his latest Indian restaurant, Malai Marke, on Indian Row in the East Village. Nestled in among the old school, $9.95 prix fix Indian joints that have spiced the air on that block for decades, Natarajan, who owns popular celebrity spot Chola, as well as Bhojan, and Chote Nawab, aims to bring not only Goa and Punjabi specialties to the area, but a chic dining option too. This means the chili pepper lights and party decorations are out, and hanging copper bowls are in. The interior, designed by Thida Thongthai Chan, maintains a contemporary bent with black tiled walls, exposed brick, and an open kitchen.

From that kitchen, Malai Marke rolls out plates piled high with grilled kebabs, including the spicy chcken achari, grilled fish in a carom marinade, and a vegan kebab with broccoli and garlic. They also churn out tandoor-cooked shrimp, chicken tikka, and tender lamb chops that get marinated in yogurt, nutmeg, and garam masala. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg, as Malai Marke offers dozens of small plates, lamb and goat dishes, chicken platters, and seafood options like the Punjabi-style shrimp curry.

Chase this all with one of their 20 bottled beers, drafts of Radeberger and Kingfisher, wine, or a mango lassie.