Indian, Asian fusion
Mint, the (self-proclaimed) first Indian-Asian-fusion restaurant and bar is the suburban satellite of a midtown Manhattan restaurant It has a rooftop lounge that seems plucked from the Hamptons -- potted palm trees, small tables and daybeds under the sun or shrouded by curtains. Located across the parking lot from Roosevelt Field mall, the view is limited to shoppers and pavement, but the upstairs scene has drawn a fair after-work crowd for its weekday happy hours (4-7 p.m.).
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Mint sprouts at Roosevelt Field.
And the splashy, new Indian restaurant, complete with tile-backed waterfall, luminaria and cushy, tent-like seating on the roof, immediately demands that you pay attention.
This Mint is an offshoot of the Manhattan eatery on East 50th Street. It occupies the building that once housed Whitey Ford's Cafe and, many years ago, the original Akbar. But any similarities other than the address are purely coincidental.
You'll have to order carefully at Mint. And the experience can be extremely different at each visit. Service is, to be kind, erratic. You could reach your second course waiting for tableware; simmer while pausing for a used napkin to be removed; and be tempted to become very vocal to get attention for something other than the check -- all on a not-too-busy weeknight.
Mint refreshes with chat papri, crisp wafers mixed with potato, chickpeas, chilies, yogurt and a sauce with some zip. Malai chicken, marinated with herbs and spices, also is good. Tender, too.
There are satisfactory vegetable samosas, the pyramid-shaped turnovers; and, moving to another province, meaty Buffalo-style chicken wings with blue-cheese dip.
You can turn traditional again with the moist, well-seasoned tandoori chicken and the chicken saag, finished with sauteed spinach and fenugreek. Chilies and vinegar spark the fine lamb vindaloo; yogurt and onion sauce mellow the crimson-hued goat stew, rogan josh.
Vegetarians have several flavorful choices, including malai kofta, a veg spin on meatballs in lush, cashew sauce; aloo gobi, combining potatoes, cauliflower and peas in curry; and crumbly cauliflower in ginger sauce. Puffy poori, onion-and-black pepper kulcha, and Peshawari naan, filled with coconut, almond, raisins and cranberries, top the breads; gulab jamun and rice pudding lead the sweets.
Dull potato pancake, overcooked scallops with mango, tasteless crabcake, underseasoned ginger prawns, dry chicken satay, bland eggplant in "pepper sauce," mushy yellow lentils.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Nice rooftop view of Grand Lux Cafe.
ESSENTIALS Open every day, from 11:30 a.m. Dinnertime reservations suggested. Street-level main dining room; no elevator to rooftop dining area. Credit cards accepted.