Dining Out: Sigiri

The sheer number of restaurants in New York can make it nearly impossible to decide what to have for dinner. There are so many choices that it’s almost paralyzing. What neighborhood do you want to dine in? What cuisine are you in the mood for? Which of the gaggle of restaurants in that area and category do you want to try?

Sometimes it’s best to put yourself in the hands of the “search nearby” feature on the Yelp app – which is basically what we did on Saturday night. We were hungry and indecisive, and we were walking towards 6th with the vague idea of having some Indian food. We were using the Yelp app to sift through the different places along there, and a “Himalayan/Nepalese” place caught our eye.

Sigiri turned out not to be Himalayan or Nepalese, but Sri Lankan – a pleasant surprise, as neither of us had ever had Sri Lankan cuisine. We were initially skeptical because of its close proximity to the Christmas-light-bedecked Indian places, but, once inside, we found it was laid back and, most importantly, smelled delicious.

The menu was a little vague, and so we decided to try two of the specialities: the chicken lamprais and the string hopper kotthu. The chicken lamprais, a spiced mixture of chicken, fish, egg, eggplant, plantain, and rice was billed as a “special occasion dish” and arrived wrapped in banana leaf. The string hopper kotthu was rice noodles stir fried with onion, tomato, cabbage, and egg, and it reminded me of pad thai but one million times better. (Yes, that is a precise calculation. One million times.) Both dishes were amazing.

chicken lamprais by R.L. on Yelp

A note about the spice: I was put out when she asked me if I wanted the string hopper kotthu “mild” or “medium” because, as a spice junkie, I wanted it hot! The medium came out pretty darn spicy. I, of course, loved this, but keep it in mind when ordering if you’re not the type who regularly drowns her food in Sriracha.

Sigiri is a BYO place and so, after ordering, I dashed down a couple of storefronts to Tinto Fino, a cute little Spanish wine shop. At Tinto Fino, they keep your purchase information in the computer (assuming you give them permission), so that you have a record of wines that you have tried when you return. As someone who doesn’t know much about wine, I think it’s genius!

I’m obviously no food critic, but, next time you’re in the East Village and struggling with the restaurant choices, I recommend that you give Sigiri a try!

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