Bengali Spoken Here – Dining in New York City

Source:  NY Times

Emily Berl for The New York Times

Mohammed Rahman’s fish dishes, lentils and pakoras draw people to Neerob in Parkchester, the Bronx.

Published: October 3, 2011
by DAVE COOK

GOOD Bangladeshi cooking is hard to come by in New York. Though “Bangladesh” is stamped on many menus, too often these are passports to food from other parts of the subcontinent. The longtime touchstone, Spicy Mina, in Woodside, Queens, went dark last year, supplanted by a Nepali spot that also turns out pizza.

One place that lovers of the cuisine have turned to is Parkchester in the Bronx, where Mohammed Rahman owns Neerob. It is on a low-rise stretch of Starling Avenue that is home to numerous Bangladeshi-owned businesses. His modest, sunny establishment serves as a de facto social center, partly for the genial atmosphere — all the customers seem to know Mr. Rahman by his nickname, Khokon — but principally for the food.

Mustard oil hums through Bangladeshi dishes like low-wattage horseradish and yet — at least as prepared by the chef, Mohammed Islam — it does not add an oily texture. Fish is the favorite protein, and garlic, turmeric, chiles and cumin power many dishes. Side plates provide a last-minute zing from more chiles, or whole cilantro or raw onion or lime.

Neerob’s offerings change daily, so the paper menu is an unreliable guide; a whiteboard is timelier but not illuminating. Best to survey the multihued (but unlabeled) steam-table display and deal directly with the servers. Bengali is the lingua franca, but you can manage in English.

 

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Categories: Bangladesh, United States

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