Guests at the Long Island Hilton who get a little peckish and wander downstairs to the hotel lobby are in for a lot more than a club sandwich. Nanking, serving an Indian-inflected fusion of Chinese and Thai — plus an extensive menu of full-on Indian dishes — has opened in a space adjoining the hotel lobby. (The former tenant, Masterson’s Steakhouse, closed last year.)
Nanking is the fifth location of a metropolitan-area restaurant group with branches in New Hyde Park, Ozone Park in Queens, and Jersey City and South Plainfield in New Jersey. Harkesh Yadav, one of the partners, said that since it opened in 2006, the New Hyde Park restaurant had attracted customers from points east. “Customers were coming from Stony Brook, Dix Hills, Melville,” he said. “They kept asking us to open in Suffolk.”
The Hilton proved ideal, not only because of its location but because of its banquet facilities. “In New Hyde Park we have a small banquet room, maybe for 55 people,” he said. “In Melville we will be able to accommodate up to 1,200 people.”
Yadav said Nanking’s cuisine is a distinct hybrid of Chinese and Thai food that is popular all over India. The menu lists more than 100 dishes. “Chinese and Thai” appetizers include Manchurian vegetable dumplings with chili-garlic sauce and chicken satay (both $7.99); mains include Nanking chili chicken and coriander-garlic chicken (both $17.99), lamb in oyster sauce ($19.99), Thai vegetable curry ($12.99), lobster Hong Kong style ($24.99), Nanking fried basmati rice, pad Thai and American chop suey (all $12).
The traditional Indian dishes are listed under the heading “Asian fusion” and include samosa chaat ($7.99), chana masala (aromatic chickpeas, $12.99), chicken tikka masala ($17.99) and lamb rogan josh ($19.99).
A gold statue of Buddha greets visitors entering Nanking. The restaurant comprises a swanky bar and lounge and two dining rooms opulently appointed in tones of red and gold. Basil’s Bistro, the American restaurant located inside the Hilton’s lobby, is still open, and the two restaurants both handle room service.
Nanking at the Long Island Hilton, 598 Broadhollow Rd., Melville; 631-454-6333, nankingrestaurantgroup.com