On the corner of Bedford and Clarkson Ave., stands an unassuming, small Indian restaurant named Gandhi. From the outside, this establishment looks like any other. Crammed between a bodega and a Dominican barber shop, Gandhi is near my apartment and a go-to when I need to satisfy family or friends.
I trust Gandhi. I know it will be a good meal. Make no mistake, though, when you enter for the first time, your expectations aren’t high. The interior is the bare minimum: walls a garish orange, scattered knickknacks, and two mildly-bright chandeliers. There are six tables. The windowpane displays their Seamless awards dating back to 2012. Soft music plays in the background. The owner can seem, well, a bit cranky. And at this point, you might be wondering: do you actually want me to eat here? Yes, absolutely—I think it serves the best Indian food in Brooklyn.
On this particular visit, it’s a Thursday night around 8pm. It’s just me and another couple. Never too crowded at Gandhi, that’s one of the reasons why I like it so much. I sit at a table by the window and watch the people walk by, watch the cars pause at the stop light, watch the faces of Flatbush.
A glass of water and addictive, thin, crisp, half-moon shaped crackers called Papadum are brought to me right away. These crackers are accompanied by three sauces. Tonight I decided to ask the waiter, what’s in the sauces? He pointed at each and said, “That’s a mint green sauce, that’s an onion and pepper sauce, and that’s a sweet sauce.” Oh ok, I say. And I don’t press him for specifics.
At midnight, my checking account would receive my bi-weekly paycheck. The paycheck that doesn’t have to go entirely to rent. For that reason, I decided to throw caution to the wind and start off with an order of vegetable samosas. These two, large samosas can easily be shared between two people and are served with a creamy, yogurt sauce. I then tell the waiter that I don’t need more time to look at the menu, I know what I want.
The first few times I came to Gandhi I would try something new. I began with the Tandoori Chicken that is served on an impressive, sizzling plate. I then moved on to the Chicken Tikka, which I also loved. My best friend has told me that she dreams about the Lamb Tikka Masala. My brother, whose diet mostly consists of Chick-fil-A, New Jersey diner food, and Wawa, even he has come around to Gandhi.
Now let me tell you about my one, true love—the Chicken Korma Curry. I can’t properly express the joy this meal brings me. I have craved this dish at 9:37am. I have tasted it in my mouth days, months, years afterwards. I could easily survive on Death Row knowing that this would be my last meal. All those who have heard me sing the praises of this Chicken Korma think I am exaggerating how good it is. But I’m not. It’s delicious. The sauce is smooth and spicy, with shaved almonds sprinkled on top. The small but numerous tender pieces of chicken float in this pool of sauce. And if that’s not enough, this meal comes with unlimited Biryani rice.
No meal is complete at Gandhi without the naan. I don’t know how I got through life without naan, specifically Gandhi’s garlic naan. You get four hearty slices and think at first it’s not enough, but later learn—it’s just enough.
The waiter refills my water and asks if everything is all right. I tell him yes, it’s delicious as always. The owner has been on the phone this entire time, taking to-go orders.
At the end of my meal, I can’t have dessert, I’m just too full. But if I did, I would go with the Mango Lassi. If you love mangoes and milkshakes, then this is the drink for you. It’s served in a 1950’s style tall glass and can be finished in one, long gulp.
My bill comes to $21.40. And what’s so great about Gandhi is that I could have easily split this meal (and bill) with someone else. The waiter brings me my leftovers, and lunch for tomorrow is taken care of.
This isn’t a fancy place, but alone or with a friend, Gandhi will give you one of the best meals in Brooklyn.
Photo Credit: Mia Alberro