Quail with (Four) Sweet Potato Fries at Indika

A few days before I skipped town for the summer I finally went to Indika. God knows what took me so long, considering the restaurant's consistently positive reviews and my love of all things curry and masala.

Around 9 p.m. on a weekend night, the restaurant was swarming with large parties (graduation? bachelorette season?), but the hostess still managed to find a quiet table for my mother and me, away from the madding crowds. The server quickly greeted us with an amuse-bouche and an enthusiastic request for our drink orders. It pained me to disappoint him by replying, "Just water, please," but Mom and I had pre-gamed at The Davenport.

We did, however, order a good bit of food, including the quail appetizer. The snarkiness of this post's title is more a frustrated reflection of my own greediness: I actually adored Indika's quail and appreciate the delicate construction of the dish. But the hungry Muppet inside of me just wishes 1) there were more fries, and 2) quails were the size of ostriches.

I so enjoyed the smoky, crisp bird skin and the juicy meat (harder to achieve with tiny fowl) that at one point I realized I had eaten most of the bones as well. Call me a peasant, but even they tasted delicious. Some spinach dressed with yogurt and chutney provided a creamy zest to round out the gamey flavor. And, the fries? Four lightly fried sticks of sweet potato stacked like jenga blocks to the right of the bird. It was a slightly off-beat accompaniment, but the mild starch actually paired well with seasoned quail.

I highly recommend the quail, especially for diners inexperienced with and/or wary of the bolder flavor of traditional North Indian food. As for me, next visit I'm going for the goat brain masala.

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Joanna O'Leary