Amma (New York)

If you are a restaurant and you want to piss me off, here is what you should do. Send a waiter over to my table and have him say: “Would you like sparkling or flat water tonight?” Then, when me and my companions say “flat,” have the waiter return with a large bottle of water. Have him pour water until our glasses are full and then, when the bottle is empty, have him open a new one and continue filling our glasses. Then, to guild the lily, have him charge us $12 on the bill for two full bottles of what may as well have been tap water.

This was our experience tonight at Amma, an otherwise very good, very expensive Indian restaurant on 51st between 2nd and 3rd.

First, I met up with Ricky and Lisa outside Lisa’s office next to Radio City Music Hall.

We walked down 51st towards the Home of Overpriced Water.

Finally, we reached it and Ricky and Lisa posed outside.


Then we encountered a problem.

“How do we get into this restaurant?” asked Lisa.

We attempted the left side, the down side, the up side, until finally we ascended the stairs on the right side. Entering the dimly lit room, the owner approached us as if we were a band of vagabonds there to deflower a virgin on the bar.

“Can I help you?” he asked nervously. I have a very intimidating gait.

“We have a reservation,” Ricky said.

He looked us up and sat us in a corner. No one puts baby in a corner.

Already, the room was rather oppressive. It was uncomfortably silent, and waiters and servers and other non-identified employees stood like secret security agents in different corners of the room.

We unintentionally ordered our expensive water and then ordered our food. To start, we ordered a trio of samosas: peas, potatoes and chicken. Soon, a waiter brought out a plate and we cut each in half.

“Which is the chicken! Which is the peas! Which is the potatotes!” worried Lisa who is a vegetarian.


“I think they’re all mixed together,” I declared sadly.

Lisa frowned. Ricky and I devoured the samosas.

Then a waiter came out with a plate. “Samosas!” he said.

“What did we just eat?” I asked.

“That was spinach and potato (something),” he answered.

“Oh,” we answered.

He placed the plate down.

“Which is the chicken! Which is the peas! Which is the potatoes!” worried Lisa.

The waiter pointed out the chicken and Lisa cut into the peas.


They were very good.

Then our entrees arrived. Mine was delicious. Mine was lamb with an apricot fennel stuffing.


Lisa was a little less enthused about her saag (with spinach and chickpeas). She says now: “I thought it was good at the time, I told you it was good at the time. The restaurant itself is what pissed me off. The prices of things and the fact that they don’t serve you rice, that’s what i didn’t like about it. I thought the food tasted good, though.”

And so there you have it. And now for the most important part…



As you can see, the Amma bathroom is quite lovely. I particularly liked the flowers and the zesty citrus handsoap. I did, unfortunately, burn my hands on the incredibly hot water (my fault for not turning on the cold early enough, but still) but overall this bathroom has a lot of character.

Grade: B+

5 thoughts on “Amma (New York)”

  1. I’m not sure I know how I feel about expensive Indian cuisine. Wait a minute, I know exactly how I feel about it: it’s a waste of money. (I feel the same way about expensive Ethiopian food too.) As for flat or sparkling water … restaurants in NYC need to get over it; water from the tap will do just fine. Slurp.

  2. Welcome to the upper east side of New York. $12 is not a bad price up there, I think Ducasse on CPS charges $15 a bottle. Maybe we should bring our own water (BYOW) to these places?

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