The Citiblog

Indian Culture Comes Alive at Kebab aur Sharab on the Upper West Side
December 28, 2022, 5:56.23 pm ET


Photo: Kebab aur Sharab

Chef Salil Mehta burst onto New York City’s food scene with Laut, the first Malaysian restaurant in the city to earn a Michelin star. He went on to open other popular spots such as Laut Singapura, Singlish, a Singaporean cocktail bar, and Wau, known for its Malaysian and Indonesian comfort foods. Now, Mehta is showcasing Indonesian street foods at his new restaurant, Kebab aur Sharab (247 West 72nd St) on the Upper West Side.

Kebab aur Sharab is exploring the foods Mehta grew-up with ranging from iconic restaurants to the street carts of India. Heading the kitchen is culinary director, Dipesh Shinde, a Mumbai-native, who since the age of 17 has worked in some of India’s most renowned kitchens, including Punjab Delhi and Farzi Cafe (one of Delhi’s first modern Indian restaurants).

“Kebab aur Sharab is a reflection of that culture and spirit, where food is made with love and served family-style,” according to Salil Mehta, “It’s a nostalgic dream for Dipesh and I that takes us back to my roots and I am looking forward to sharing our food and culture with New Yorkers.”

A central feature of the restaurant is the custom-crafted clay tandoor oven, producing made-to-order roti and naan, including rumali, a bread that is extremely thin and served folded like a handkerchief hence its nickname “handkerchief bread.”

Menu highlights include crispy tandoor-grilled chicken, and Dori Kebab made with minced meat and intricate mixture of spices. The dish is prepared using cotton thread to prevent the kebab from falling off the seekh (skewer). “Koyle se” selections (dishes cooked over coal) include succulent Lal maans Lamb Chops marinated in smoked chilies and garlic; and a smoky, Garam Masala Steak Tomahawk, accentuated by a signature blend of ground spices (fennel, bay leaves, black and white peppercorns, cloves, cumin, coriander seeds and red chili powder). Mehta’s childhood favorites can also be found like Sardaji ka Fish Tikka, an iconic tandoor-cooked dish from Delhi, and Grilled Tapori Prawns, a dish that originates from Mumbai.

Kebab aur Sharab’s interior design draws its inspiration from Punjab culture with colonial design elements fused with contemporary touches. Throughout the space, the national symbol of India, the majestic peacock is also visible, including a massive mural seen on the skylight in the back of the dining room. Hand-carved teak wood paneling and vintage wood artifacts from India are also prominently displayed.

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