Benares TriBeCa Announces New Chef and Menu Items
Benares in TriBeCa, known for its diverse Indian cuisine from the 28 states of India, is featuring new dishes from newly appointed Chef Qutab Singh Negi, who has infused the menu with selections inspired by his family in north India while honoring the original menu by Executive Chef Peter Beck. The restaurant continues to be led by founder Inder Singh, a former partner in Devi and Baluchi’s, who also has a family legacy in the business (Poonam, Minar, Aangan) and General Manager Ranbir Bhatia.
The menu is a medley of regional dishes with an emphasis on the restaurant’s namesake city of Benares, in northern India. The TriBeCa location is the second Benares outpost and focuses on healthful options with a strong emphasis on vegetarian and seafood entrées, prepared with a minimum of butter of fat, and a maximum of spice and flavor.
Prior to joining the Benares team, Chef Qutab Singh Negi gained experience at award-winning Indian restaurants across the globe, including Taj of India restaurant in Germany and Ashok Hotel in Delhi. His new menu offerings feature appetizers of Dahi Ke Kebab, creamy, seasoned fried yogurt patties; tender tandoor meats of Chicken Tikka Smokey with smoked curry yogurt, served with mint, and lamb prepared in a Galouti Kebab, marinated with papaya and Chef’s special spices. For seafood, selections range from Tomato Fish with flaky, fork-tender basa in a zesty tomato sauce, to Cheema Thenga, plump jumbo prawns in coconut milk curry.
Chef Beck’s signature dishes will remain, like the appetizer of Kashmiri Tiki, beet and roasted turnip patties made with fennel, ginger, garlic and cumin; Makkai ka Soweta, tender yogurt- and turmeric-marinated lamb with roasted corn served with Malaysian paratha, and seafood dish of tawa scallops, pan-seared on tomato-green chili and ginger sauce topped with mango-tomato relish.
Desserts combine modern classics with Indian twists, like the Atomic Bomb of a warm chocolate brownie surrounded by scoops of rose-flavored ice cream. Others are standard favorites like Pistachio Kulfi and Mango Pudding.
The well-edited global wine list was specially selected to pair with Indian spices and flavors. Most of the wines are available by the glass or by the bottle. The light sweetness of the Washington State Chateau St. Michelle Riesling offsets the spiciness of the food, and the fruitiness of the Handcraft California pinot noir is a good match for lamb and chicken dishes. There’s also a choice of 11 beers including Kingfisher and Taj Mahal. Cocktails are kept light and fruity, with options like the Diva with Malibu rum, peach schnapps, peach and pineapple juice.
The clean, spare interior in the open TriBeCa space immediately captures the upscale experience one can expect, with deep mustard and dark brown banquets and earth-toned panels punctuated by red saris, representative of the region. The theme of the Ganges River flows throughout the space. For example, a mobile dividing panel contains a window in the shape of the Ganges, with embedded rose petals floating in the glass. The bar is highlighted by paintings of India from the Victoria and Albert Museum, photographed and reprinted on aluminum.
General Manager Ranbir Bhatia heads up the catering division with an array of options and menus custom made for any occasion. Weddings and engagement parties, whether buffet, family style or plated, can be held at any hotel or venue of your choice. Whether you are interested in a North Indian wedding reception or a lunch based on the groom’s region of origin, Benares is the go-to caterer for Indian cultural events and parties.