Even through all the spice, calm is found at Namaste restaurant in Astoria.
This Indian restaurant’s new decor has introduced an entirely new feel to the romantic space, complementing the precision involved in the traditional Indian cuisine.
Located at 31-15 30 Ave. among countless restaurants, this serene treasure is contemporary yet clings to its native roots so closely that the chef brings out the main dishes himself.
Namaste is known in the world of yoga as a spiritual salutation that translates literally into, “I bow to the divine in you.”
The restaurant runs with that relaxing ideal through its sleek, minimalist decor. The restaurant stands out in several ways, visually and in its cuisine.
Since its opening in mid-February the customers have been greeted with a generous basket of papad — a thin, crisp lentil cracker that is harmonized with two traditional Indian sauces, one bright herbaceous, another sweet and smooth.
The beverage menu reflects many national and international wines, mostly red to accompany the abundance of spice in the dishes, but the real treasure is the mango lassi, a freshly-whipped mango and yogurt drink that bursts with bright, fresh flavor.
When getting down to the cuisine the youthful Indian waiter recommended the lamb chops in a red wine-based gravy.
“I could eat them every day,” he said. “No problem.”
For appetizers, the mulagatawny soup gushes with flavor. This traditional lentil soup with a presence of chili warms from the inside out.
The aloo tikka is also not to be missed. Four rich potato cakes are plated and prepared with peas and mild spices, creating a perfect crisp on the outside and remaining tender on the inside.
Definitely try the shrimp tikka. It’s craddled in a traditional cream and tomato-based sauce that quenches anyone’s thirst for something out of the ordinary. The dish is served with 10 perfectly-cooked jumbo shrimp, enough for lunch the next day.
The traditional dish of chicken vindaloo is another tender entree that is bathed in a tomato yogurt sauce and served with slow-cooked potatoes. Like the rest of the menu, the vindaloo can be prepared at any degree of spiciness, including very mild. When taken to the top of the scale at the make-your-taste-buds-wish-they-were-dead limit, they deliver.
All dishes are presented in steel carafes, swimming in velvety sauce with white rice strategically placed on its own.
For dessert, the chef presented the rice pudding known in Indian cuisine as kheer.
This sweet gem has a wide array of textures from the milky, smooth pudding to the crunch of almonds all held together with a hint of mint.
Another classic is the incredibly creamy kulfi ice cream that appeals to the tongue with its freshly-whipped arrangement glittered with crushed pistacio flakes.
Namaste has reached its goal in standing out on 30 Ave. with the tranquil decor and their anything but plain cuisine.
The vibe of the restaurant at lunch differs with a buffet that includes all the menu items for only $11.95, every day of the week from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
And don’t stress if you’re a light eater, the regular menu is served as well.
Namaste is open Monday through Friday for dinner from 5 to 11 p.m.
Weekend hours are extended from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 to 11 p.m.
Reservations are recommended by calling (718) 626-2783.