Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Sigiri - 91 1st Avenue, NYC (Sri Lankan)
Finally - a Sri Lankan restaurant in the midst of Manhattan. This one's a keeper.

Reaching Sigiri is simple. Walk along Curry Lane (6th Street in the East Village), dodging restaurant wranglers along the way. Continue past Awash., past Mara's - taking a right at the 1st Avenue Junction. Halfway down the block, a tall flight of stairs lead upwards--under a simple black awning--to a narrow, stylishly decorated dining room. You have now reached Sigiri. Prepare to be pleased, by both the service and the food.

All the traditional staples are available at Sigiri. Comprehensive and complete, the menu offers a full sampling of Sri Lankan cuisine. For those comfortable with Indian fare, Sigiri serves up a full selection of curries (spiced to Sri Lankan tastes), and familiar items such as Mulligatawny soup. For the more adventurous, truly exotic (and uniquely Sri Lankan) items await, including coconut flavored Pittu, bowlshaped Hopper pancakes, and Shredded Kotthu Roti. For those with a sweet tooth, the mango cordial is a must, as well as a full coterie of authentic desserts available for the end of the meal - including Watalappam pudding and Aluva fudge. There's no Americanized ice cream here - thank goodness for that!

The service is equally good - pleasant, warm and welcoming. A gracious man, the owner spoke with me at length on my first visit, explaining the difference between black and coconut curries, willingly converting my dish from chicken to vegetarian - and went so far as to print up microwave directions for the Lamprais dish that we had ordered to go. Now where can you get service like that?

Even if you could...why bother? Because Sigiri already awaits. And it feels like home.

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