New Delhi Philadelphia Review

New Delhi

4004 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

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New Delhi Philadelphia - Disgraceful Indian Food

We're no strangers to bad food at Indian restaurants in the U.S.

But few Indian restaurants plunk down such wholesome misery on the table - in the form of extraordinarily unappetizing food - as New Delhi Indian Restaurant on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia.

What made our recent dining experience particularly distressing was that New Delhi once served such delicious food that we didn't hesitate to make 70-mile round trips.

Today New Delhi is an Indian restaurant in name only.

A pathetic shadow of its once-fine self, New Delhi now serves disgraceful imitations of famed Indian curries such as Channa Masala, Mixed Vegetable Curry, Malai Kofta and Chicken Tikka Masala.

Malai Kofta

We love Malai Kofta (mixed vegetable balls cooked in mildly spiced thick sauce). When cooked well, Malai Kofta is delicious with both Naan bread and rice. But what reached our table was a travesty of the popular dish.

New Delhi's Malai Kofta came with a liberal dose of ghastly red coloring daubed on the kofta as well as the gravy. We'd have tolerated even that hideous red color but after the first bite of the Malai Kofta we saw red.

There were too many things wrong with New Delhi's Malai Kofta. First, the Kofta was too hard. Second, the sauce was not creamy enough. As if these failings were not punishment enough for hapless diners, New Delhi's lamebrained chef went on a culinary rampage sending out one of the most tasteless Malai Koftas we've ever had.

If Malai Kofta was awful, Channa Masala and Mixed Vegetable Curry were not far behind. Little thought and attention seem to have gone into preparation of both these dishes. The only goal appeared to have been to rush them out to diners. They were bland and bad beyond comprehension.

Chicken Tikka Masala

A popular fixture at most Indian restaurants in the U.S., Chicken Tikka Masala (tender boneless chicken roasted in a clay oven and then cooked in a creamy tomato sauce with onions and bell pepper) again suffered from the chef's morbid fixation with red color. Badly cooked chicken floating in a bloody red mass masquerading as sauce gave an unpleasant taste to this chicken dish. Bloody red and bloody awful is an apt way to describe New Delhi's Chicken Tikka Masala.

Tandoori Chicken

Desperate for relief from such pitiful food, we turned to Tandoori Chicken for respite. Alas, we were indulging a silly hope. New Delhi's Tandoori Chicken (Chicken marinated in yogurt, fresh spices and lemon juices, then barbecued in tandoor) was below average too - it suffered from inadequate marination.

Although we usually opt for Garlic Naan at Indian restaurants, we went in for plain Naan here. A big mistake in retrospect for the Naan was too hard, particularly at the edges.

Bad as the food at New Delhi Indian restaurant is, there were a few saving graces at this place.


Kulfi Ice Cream - usually bad at most Indian restaurants - is above average at New Delhi. Served in the form of small cubes, the Kulfi was rich and fortunately not too hard. But if you are in the mood for desserts at New Delhi, go for the Mango Ice Cream. Not likely to be forgotten quickly, New Delhi's Mango Ice Cream was a sheer delight to behold and taste.

Although clueless in the food department, the folks at New Delhi definitely know their Ice Creams well.

The two desserts apart, much of what we tasted at New Delhi was not real Indian cuisine.

New Delhi Rating

New Delhi touts itself as "Philadelphia's oldest and finest Indian restaurant." But with such bad food coming out of its kitchen, we think it's a big stretch for New Delhi to even consider itself an Indian restaurant.

Besides the desserts, New Delhi's second saving grace was its service. New Delhi's waiters were prompt and courteous and gave no room for complaint. - ©

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