Chinese Mirch

120 Lexington Avenue corner of 28th Street
$65 for two, without drinks, with tip

Mirch is loosely translated as spicy in Hindi and the combination of Sichuan and Cantonese cuisines happily bring out the intense flavor of Indian cooking. The positive is that the dishes are lighter than what I am used to because pork and beef are not in the menu in honor of the Muslim and Hindi diets. The negative is that the distinctive flavor of all the cuisines combined may be too much for a diner with a less friendly stomach. Indeed, mine protested when I got home–three times.

We ordered the lime coriander soup which was deliciously sour for me. It was clear broth but a little gooey, perhaps a little cornstarch made it so. This is exactly what the Chinese Indian combination was like throughout our entire meal–saucy and spicy. We also had their notorious chicken lollipops, wing meat pulled back to form a ball at the other end of the bone. My brother makes them at home but the Mirch version has enough garlic to make them addicting. They’re deep-fried to crunchy perfection that I had to order one serving to go so that my father can taste them. The deep-fried okra were served in a container fit for Belgian fries and each okra sliver was coated in batter and peppered with paprika and other chili spices. The vegetarian meatballs were quite good, too, and even after eating one of the green chiles swimming in even more sauce, we were still craving for more. The chicken and garlic noodles were satisfying although the chicken bits were barely detectable. I loved pouring the vinegar that was on our table over them.

The waiters are friendly but the service is abrupt. Our waiter tried to take plates away twice even though we were still eating. He also tipped over the okra container to see if we were done with them that I was tempted to slap him on the arm so he would chill. We ordered a bowl of rice when the two main courses were served but it never came. When it was included in our bill and I alerted the cashier, they insisted that we ate the rice they brought to our table. Our waiter pointed to a small grain of rice on our table and asked, But what is this over here? as if we would really try to skip over paying $1.39. They let the bill stand, as I suggested, and I gave them $1.39 less on the tip. Can you blame me if I just didn’t want to pay for what wasn’t served? The waiters also let us leave without giving us the leftovers we asked to take home. It was a good thing we remembered half a block away. When we opened our bag, the new order of chicken lollipops were there (I ordered two but they only gave and charged me for one) but the leftover noodles weren’t. We were just too tired to correct another mistake that we just decided to walk away.