The Citiblog

The Spirit of Prohibition Comes Alive at Veerays in Midtown
June 25, 2024, 7:45.50 pm ET


Photos: Veerays

Think Roaring 20s with Bollywood Beats. That’s what you will find behind the red curtain at the sultry new speakeasy, Veerays, in Midtown East.

Derived from the Punjabi word for “good friends,” Veerays conjures up images of prohibition, a place tucked away in plain site where you might imagine moonshine flowing and a bygone era of gangsters.

Cocktails here come under the heading "Giggle Water" (cheers to a roaring good time) with signature drinks like the Al Capone with Woodinville Bourbon, sugar, and bitters; Diamond Joe with Citadelle Gin, Moët Champagne, lemon juice, and sugar; and Dean O’Banion made with a mix of dark rum, ruby port, lemon juice, sugar, egg white, and club soda. O’Banion is not a name you hear too often, but he was the chief rival to Al Capone and Johnny Torrio who was later gunned down by a Torrio associate at his family’s flower shop on the North Side of Chicago at the height of the bootlegging wars of the 1920s, according to The Mob Museum.

And with cutthroat drinks comes cutting edge Indian cuisine from Michelin-starred Chef and Co-Owner Hemant Mathur. Mathur's menu pays homage to the era with Gatsby Kebabs, tandoor grilled chicken kebabs marinated with tamarind and basil; Roaring 20s Shrimp with coconut and black pepper; and the Rockefeller Crab Nest with tempered spices and curry leaves.

Other signature dishes include Charleston Chicken stuffed with spinach and goat cheese served with apricot chutney; Illegal Pheasant prepared in a Chettinad-style curry named after a region of India where dishes are made with freshly ground masalas; and The Don’s Lamb Chops, a specialty of Chef Mathur, with marble potatoes (named for their small round shape) and pear chutney.

There are also assorted house-made Indian breads like coconut naan, lamb keema naan and laccha paratha. Desserts also evoke the Roaring 20s with the Masquerade Ball (galub jamun), Out On Parole (mango panna cotta), and A Killer Cake (layers of chocolate, chocolate mousse, and chocolate cake) described as a “sweet demise.”

Veerays is a culinary adventure and while it may not take itself too serious, you should!