Food, I.M.H.O.

A Quarter-Pounder Bread (With Curry)

Sonny's Roti Shop.
Sonny’s Roti Shop.

Amid the honeycomb of New York City restaurants, there’s not a cuisine you won’t find. But not knowing what to order, where, will only get you a poor dining experience as well as flatten the wallet.

Take Indian food. To partake of gravy-laden dishes, silver leaf-garnished sweetmeats, and sizzling street food, head over to Jackson Heights, Queens. For raita in ramekins and samosas on a velvety bed of finely-shredded veggies, there are upscale Manhattan eateries. But for stellar rotis, try Sonny’s Roti Shop, a small, unpretentious, desi-style diner, nestled among a hodgepodge of garishly-lit sari shops, at 118-06 Liberty Avenue, Richmond Hills.

It advertises itself as a specialist in West Indian food, when it should be broadcasting its flatbreads. Forget its potato curry. Set aside its lentil preparation. Ask for the dalpuri, indubitably, the best dish on the menu. A veritable nobility of the Indian roti family, it’s a fluffy, stuffed flatbread, with a filling of chickpeas, garlic, and ginger that goes very well with a meat curry. It also makes a scrumptious stand-alone dish with a hot pickle on the side. What adds to the awesomeness of the Sony’s Roti dalpuri is its size. Each measuring about 10 inches in diameter, and weighing a quarter pound, it’s very filling.

The shop’s laid-back atmosphere and courteous service gives it the aura of one of the many dhabas strung a highway in northern India. Only this happens to be on the other side of the world. And the people milling about on the sidewalk speak Caribbean-inflected English, Creole, and snatches of accented Hindi.

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