Sahib, in New York City, is the newest venture from twice Michelin-starred chef, restaurateur and tandoor master Hemant Mathur, who received his stars for Devi in 2007 (the first Indian restaurant in the U.S. to receive a Michelin star) and Tulsi in 2010. To complete the vision of Sahib, Mathur collaborated with consultant Shiva Natarajan, who founded Fine Indian Dining Group, which includes Sahib, Kokum, Chola, Dhaba, Malai Marke, Chote Nawab, and Haldi. To ignite the menu at Sahib, Natarajan journeyed through north India to discover recipes inspired by the region’s rich cultural history. This includes the wazwan cooking style mastered by chefs in north India for centuries, in which meats simmer in copper pots for a prolonged period of time to create superbly tender and flavorful dishes.
General Manager Min Bhujel, formerly of Crown Plaza in Nepal, will guide you through the menu, which is divided into sections: Chicken, Lamb & Goat, Fisherwoman’s Catch and Vegetarian. Begin with starters such as Murgh Chop, roasted chicken thighs basted in a creamy marinade with a bright tinge of malt vinegar. Wazwan-influenced entrees include Rista, fork-tender Kashmir-style lamb meatballs coated in a saffron gravy, and Rogan Josh, lamb chunks smothered in a saffron-curry gravy that is made in the authentic way with yogurt instead of commonly misused tomatoes. Mathur’s advanced tandoor technique is highlighted with Murgh Burrah Kebab, tandoor-cooked Frenched-cut chicken breast, specifically carved this way due to the type of meat and the presence of the bone. Seafood options from the Fisherwoman’s Catch are signature Peppercorn Jhinga, char-grilled shrimp studded with ground pink peppercorn for a more floral and expressive flavor profile than common black peppercorn; and Grilled Fish, Indian-imported pomfret fish served in a flavorful Hung yogurt and garlic sauce. Vegetarian selections include Banarasi Baigan, smoked and fried eggplant coated in fresh herbs, and Dul Olav, Kashmir-style potatoes in a spicy chili yogurt sauce. Various naan choices are also available, including unique options like creamy paneer cheese and jalapeño pepper, and nutritional powerhouse sweet potato.
Dessert includes Kulfi, a traditional ice cream made with fresh cream and sugar, and Gudkheer, creamy rice pudding with jaggery, a type of cane sugar commonly used in Asian cuisine.
The vibrant dishes serve as an artful contrast to the modern bistro aesthetic of the interior, with cool gray and white tones, designed by Welly Lai of Welly Lai Studio (whose past restaurant projects include The Black Ant and Yerba Buena). Reclaimed wood is used throughout the space to honor the wooden-block printing method commonly used in textile designs in chef/owner Mathur’s native Jaipur. Various creative designs are implemented throughout the space, like eye-catching juxtaposed wooden boards in the ceiling that are reminiscent of a laser cut-out design, and the use of wooden bead chandeliers and a flowered mirror installation with hand-carved wooden petals. The seats are a mix of shabby-chic chairs brushed with chalk paint, and plush banquets. The tables are long and the space is ample, to allow guests to comfortably eat family-style in the Indian tradition without feeling cramped.
The beverage menu includes Masala Chai Tea and Gulkand Lassi, made with yogurt, saffron and gulkand, a blend of rose petal preserves. A full bar with a range of Indian beers and a wine list carefully tailored to the cuisine is expected once the liquor license is approved. The restaurant is BYOB until then.
A two-course prix fixe lunch special is also available with combinations such as Murgh Chop, braised chicken thighs and Rogan Josh, curried lamb made with Fenugreek sauce.