Adam Erace says the food coming from Sylva Senat’s kitchen at Tashan is some of the most exciting to debut all year. Especially impressive when you figure the Jean-Georges, Aquavit and Buddakan veteran had never cooked Indian cuisine professionally.
His comfort working with bold seasoning is evident in dishes like venison, grilled with fenugreek, cumin and smoked cloves before being kissed by rum-and-plum chutney. He distills Xacutti, a Goan curry typically made with chicken or lamb, to its essential spices — no fewer than 21 of them — and applies the blend to pork tenderloin in both wet and dry marinades. Even the desserts showed a mastery of Indian flavors, from mysterious, fickle rose in a trio of kulfi ice creams, to cardamom and cinnamon woven through a lush bread pudding. The spectacular peshwari naan, part of the “chef’s basket” of baked-to-order flatbreads, could have qualified as a dessert, too, with a paste of ground cashews, pistachios, raisins and coconut spread inside its warm, smoky folds. It tasted like India’s version of French toast.