One of the great things about living in NYC is that a short train ride can get you just about anywhere in the city. A few weeks ago I went up to Jackson Heights in Queens to meet my friend Jeff for Indian food at the Jackson Diner, one of my favorite Indian places with an awe-inspiring buffet.
74th Street and the surrounding area is home to several Indian restaurants, but the only one I’ve ever been to is the Jackson Diner. It gets its incongruous name, I’ve heard, from the fact that the building used to be a diner and when the current owners bought the building they left the existing sign up.
The buffet was great as always; in addition to the usual daal, pakoras, and saag they also had a guy making fresh dosas on the side. The shell was perfectly warm and crispy, a nice match for the soft potato and cauliflower filling. Their all-you-can-eat buffet is only $11, a great value.
After lunch we stopped by the Patel Brothers supermarket next door. They have a lot of imported Indian products you don’t find in your local supermarkets, as well as interesting produce. They had fresh banana flowers, curry leaves, and that mysterious vegetable you see above. I ended up getting a package of pre-made potato parathas, a box of tamarind candy, and a pomelo (which I’ve always wanted to try).
Traveling up to Jackson Heights is almost like taking a mini vacation within the city. It’s not just the food, you can also get your fill of Bollywood movies, Indian clothing, jewelry, and more. I know I should try some of the other restaurants up there; as Jeff says, they probably have to be of pretty high caliber to exist in the neighborhood.
Jackson Diner — 37-47 74th St, Queens