208 East 58th Street between Second and Third Avenues
about $60 for two, without drinks, with tip
It was a new craving. It had to be Indian food but without the heavy curry sauce. It had to be seafood. Because I remember having such a seafood meal at Rasa the last time I was in London, it had to be cooked Keralan style.
On the map, Kerala is on the Malabar coast of India. Historically, they have traded spices with all the merchants of the world. I had a difficult time finding Keralan cuisine in Manhattan, and because I had no means to head over to New Jersey the same night–where they say the good Keralan restaurants are–I ended up at Ada on the east side after finding one seafood dish that involved Kerala on the menu.
The fish came in a thick orange sauce. I had to scrape it off to make sure there is fish under all of it. When I tasted the fish, it was bland. The lemon rice was more flavorful, so I ate an entire bowl to compensate. The goat sausages were better and disappeared easily with the mint-flavored nan.
I’m not quite sure why Ada was empty on a Friday night. The hushed tone made us uncomfortable. The waiters hovered at the bar, perhaps itchy to close for the night. Back in 2001, William Grimes of The New York Times gave Ada two stars, so I was betting my Friday night on that one seafood Keralan dish. Unfortunately, times have changed since then. I’m off to New Jersey to find a better one.