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Curry Club in Hicksville

Assorted kebab platter is arranged for a photograph

Assorted kebab platter is arranged for a photograph at Curry Club in Hicksville. (Sept. 3, 2011) Photo Credit: Jin Lee

The Curry Club in Hicksville proved an ideal spot to introduce a finicky friend to the spirited and complex cuisine of India. The offshoot of an East Setauket standby is quiet and attractive, its attentive crew eager to offer menu suggestions.

JOIN THE CLUB

My pal's dinner starts with sweet corn soup, deeply flavorful and subtly spicy. I taste it and smile. After one hesitant spoonful, he proceeds to polish off the bowl. There are more soup stars: mulligatawny with chicken, at once piquant and soothing as well as garlic tomato, positively resonant.

A kebab appetizer assortment -- ideal for sharing -- showcases all manner of juicy grilled chicken and lamb. But it's the entree known as chooza kebab that features my kind of chicken: dark meat. The boneless chunks are marinated in a blend of yogurt and spices, grilled and served, sizzling, on a metal plate with onions and peppers. My newly converted friend takes a chance on a Karachi kadai curry from Pakistan. It turns out to be delectable, done with big chunks of white meat (his preference) in a thick gravy of peppers, tomatoes, onions and chili.

A subsequent visit uncovers more thrills. Lamb vindaloo, a hot-sweet-sour specialty of Goa, has enough heat to electrify without scorching the palate. I'm a big fan of the saag paneer, a rich spinach curry with cubes of homemade "cottage" cheese. It pairs well with the restaurant's irresistible breads -- onion kulcha, garlic naan, mint paratha, among standouts. Then, there's biryani Nawabi, a compelling rice dish studded with dried fruit, nuts and pieces of boneless chicken.

Fitting conclusions: gulab jamon (warm fried milk balls in rosewater syrup) and creamy, fragrant rice pudding. 

MEMBERSHIP REVOKED

Vegetable samosas (turnovers) are leaden. And the otherwise fine, flavorsome chili shrimp (an Indian-Chinese dish) is weighted down by breading. 

BOTTOM LINE

Neophytes and adventurers alike will want to sign up for this club.

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