Chef and restaurateur Salil Mehta is returning to his roots and homage to the comfort food and street food traditions of New Delhi with the launching of Kebab aur Sharab on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Located at 247 West 72nd Street, Kebab aur Sharab brings the breathtaking and diverse food culture of India to New York City. The decor is modeled after the classic punjabi kothi or haveli, a typical house in Punjabi culture that combines colonial and punjabi vernacular design features with modern design flourishes. The majestic peacock, which serves as India’s national emblem, and its hues are also evident throughout the area, including a mural on the skylight at the dining room’s rear. Vintage Indian wood items and hand-carved teak wood paneling are also vividly displayed.
There are 55 seats in the main dining area, 20 chairs on the enclosed sidewalk, and 18 seats at the bar.
Culinary director Dipesh Shinde, a native of Mumbai who has worked in some of India’s most prominent restaurants since he was 17 years old, including Punjab Delhi and Farzi Cafe, one of Delhi’s first modern Indian restaurants, will be in charge of running the kitchen.
As a member of a family of cooks, Shinde brings decades of experience to the table along with his skill in a wide range of Indian culinary methods.
“It’s a nostalgic dream for Dipesh and I that takes us back to my roots and I am looking forward to sharing our food and culture with New Yorkers,” says Mehta.
The restaurant will feature the breadth and complexity of India’s extraordinary cuisine, drawing inspiration from the comfort food and street food options Mehta experienced as a child, including items from well-known restaurants and street carts in India.
“When we were growing up in New Delhi, Punjabi families would come together to celebrate meals featuring kebabs and freshly baked roti and naan from the best street food vendors paired with whiskeys and cocktails. Kebab aur Sharab is a reflection of that culture and spirit, where food is made with love and served family-style,” says Mehta.
The establishment’s centerpiece will be a specially manufactured clay tandoor oven, which will produce specialty roti and naan items made to order and hard to locate, as well as rumali, a bread that is presented folded like a handkerchief and goes by the nickname “handkerchief bread.
The restaurant will also feature a wide variety of meat dishes that have been made using a dizzying array of sophisticated techniques, such as stone grilling and the use of the tandoor.
The menu at Kebab aur Sharab will include meals with a Punjabi influence, including a variety of excellent kebabs, as well as long-forgotten cuisine from places like Kerala, which is known for its abundance of seafood and spices, and Uttar Pradesh. Aslam’s Butter Chicken is a perfectly tandoor-grilled chicken that is crispy and marinated, inspired by the well-known street food vendor Aslam in old Delhi.
Traditional Kashmiri Chili Tandoori Chicken and tender Lal Maans Lamb Chops are two of Kebab aur sharab’s “koyle se” options, dishes that are cooked over coal in the tandoor which is a spicy Rajasthani meat dish marinated in smoked chilies and garlic, favorites from Mehta’s childhood were grilled tapori prawns from Mumbai and the famous Delhi dish Sardaji ka Fish Tikka, which is prepared in a tandor, and so much more.
The restaurant will be open from 5 p.m. to midnight on weekdays and from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekends.
There will be liquor, beer, and wine available. Eat in only, as Cash and all credit cards are both accepted. Reservations can be booked by calling TKTK or using Resy.
For more information, visit www.kebabaursharab.com and follow @kebabaursharab on instagram.