NYC: Bali Nusa Indah

on Sunday, February 22, 2009 in , , , , , ,
Tonight I flew into NYC for a quick trip to meet with some customers. The flight landed just in time - I was ready to chew my arm off!

My family lives in the area, so my parents, sister and I went out tonight to try something different in the cuisine capital and melting pot of the world. My sister recently spent several months in Singapore and traveled extensively in the Far East. She developed a taste for Indonesian flavors - a fusion of Thai, Chinese and Indian spices. Sounded great to me!

We went to a restaurant in Hell's Kitchen called Bali Nusa Indah. We arrive around 7pm and the place was empty. That always scares me a little? With all the places to eat in NYC I suppose it shouldn't surprise me, especially because most folks were probably at home - it is Oscar night, after all.

The decor inside is filled with little artifacts from all over the Far East - pictures, sculptures, paintings - all very tastefully decorated. Bali Nusa Indah is a small place but not like some other NYC eateries where you are basically sitting on your neighbor's lap.

I let my sister do the ordering since she's the expert in this cuisine. We started with two appetizers; vegetable corn fritters and chicken satay in a peanut sauce.

The vegetable corn fritters came out piping hot, fresh as can be and were a mix of corn, peas, and other mixed veggies fried to a perfect crisp in a spicy batter. They were accompanied with a spicy sauce similar in taste to a Sriracha sauce and a sweeter ginger soy sauce. Those things were good! I really enjoyed them with the spicy sauce and would have ordered another round of them but wanted to save my appetite for what was coming.

The chicken satay was good, nothing special in my mind but still pretty tasty. The peanut sauce was not a typical one you may find at Thai restaurants where the peanut flavor is far more dominant. Here the peanut sauce is a melody of peanuts, and other herbs blended together. The chicken was moist and well-prepared on skewers. The appetizers were served in decent portions and can easily be shared by up to 4 people.

For the main course we ordered three entrees. First, a vegetable-fried rice with a bunch of different veggies cooked to perfection and lighting up the dish with their bright colors. No eggs in this fried rice differentiating it from more common Asian rice dishes.

To go along with the rice we ordered a spicy tofu in a red curry sauce. Awesome. This curry sauce was not the typical curry. It had a tomato sauce base and was thicker then conventional Far Eastern curries, a little more similar to Indian if you ask me. It had a tremendous amount of flavor that had hints of garlic, cumin and a kick with curry powder and chili.

The other dish we ordered was a Red snapper fillet prepared in a coconut curry sauce with steamed veggies. I can tend to be skeptical of seafood, but this hit the mark. The fish was perfectly cooked and melted in my mouth. The coconut curry sauce was incredible.

My biggest observation with this type of cuisine is that it is a perfect mix of the region's flavors. I wouldn't recommend eating the fish with the fried rice, it tasted better with plain white rice. The tofu and the fried rice made a better combo.

To my palate, none of the items were excessively spicy. I found myself continuously adding the spicy sauce served with the corn fritters but remember I have a bad judgement when it comes to spice - for me, the hotter the better. The food was so good I wanted to order a few more entrees. Maybe next trip.

I did notice other dishes going by us that seemed like platters of food serving one person, like a combo of everything we had and they all looked and smelled wonderful!

In our family, we never skip dessert. This one featured a fried banana crepe topped with ice cream. Nothing special but hit the spot after a fabulous meal.

I highly recommend this place to those who like the cuisine of the far east. It is different - you shouldn't expect your typical Chinese, Thai and Indian dishes. You really can't go wrong with the dishes here. This place has captured the best the regions have to offer and does so at bargain prices. Everything we ordered totaled about $10 a head. Hope you get to enjoy this place!

Here is a link to the restaurant and menu:
Bali Nusa Indah on Urbanspoon


This sounds fantastic! I can't wait to visit!