Salil Mehta––acclaimed chef and Michelin-starred restaurateur of Funghi Hospitality Group, behind Southeast Asian-inspired hotspots Laut and Singapura––returns to his roots at Kebab aur Sharab. Alongside Culinary Director Dipesh Shinde, Mehta is exploring India’s vibrant and diverse gastronomic culture on New York City’s Upper West Side.
The extensive offerings pay homage to the street and comfort food culture of New Delhi and Mumbai, the birthplaces of Mehta and Shinde. Inspired by their favorite childhood memories and culinary expertise, the duo brings forth a culinary program that showcases the depth and breadth of India’s remarkable cuisine.
At the heart of the restaurant is a custom-crafted clay tandoor oven, producing made-to-order and hard-to-find specialties like rumali, a thin, folded bread known as “handkerchief bread.” Each dish is a nod to the rich food-focused culture in New Delhi, where families would gather for meals featuring kebabs and freshly baked bread paired with whiskey-based cocktails and punches.
In addition to Punjab-inspired kebabs, the menu includes options from the country’s most far-flung places: long-lost recipes from the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, plus seafood-laden delicacies from the tropical shores of Kerala. Signature dishes such as Aslam’s Famous Butter Chicken and Dori Kebab highlight the chefs’ mastery. The “koyle se” section, cooked over coal in the tandoor, presents such dishes as Kashmiri Chili Tandoori Chicken, Lamb Chops Lal Mass Vada Mash, and a Garam Masala Steak Tomahawk.
Curry lovers will delight in the differing varieties, from the fiery Andhra Chili Chicken to the rich Korma Al Jawahar Jaisa inspired by old Delhi’s Jawahar hotspot.
Unbeknownst to many, punch originated in Punjab, India, the word itself translating to the number five. As such, each of the three punches features five principal ingredients. Ask any waitstaff which they prefer, and they’ll always say the gin-based Roka punch.
The restaurant interiors are a visual feast, drawing inspiration from traditional Punjabi architecture with a blend of colonial design elements and contemporary touches. There are four sprawling, individual spaces: enclosed “sidewalk” tables, ideal for walk-ins; a moody bar; the main dining room fit for date night or large parties; and a solarium-esque space with curved floor-to-ceiling windows. Hand-carved teak wood paneling and vintage artifacts from India adorn the space, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. A motif of peacocks is present throughout, as the elegant bird is the national symbol of India.
Guests can anticipate a truly immersive dining experience at Kebab aur Sharab.
Location: Upper West Side, New York City
Address: 247 W 72nd St, New York, N.Y. 10023
Price Point: $$
Takes Reservations: Yes – via Resy
The vibe: Inspired by a kothi or haveli––a traditional house in Punjab culture––the bright colors and peacock motifs in conjunction with the lively atmosphere will make diners feel as though they’re attending an Indian dinner party held at their favorite auntie’s home.
Our favorite thing on the menu: The Aslam Butter Chicken Tikka is undeniably the restaurant’s most famous dish. However, do not overlook the Lamb Chops Lal Mass Vada Mash, Paneer Shashlik, and the Malabar Bone Marrow Pulao.
The attire: Smart Casual
Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner: Dinner: Monday to Friday from 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.; Saturday & Sunday: 5:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.