Bali Nusa Indah
651 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
P: (212) 974-1875
Price: Cheap Eats
New to Indonesian food, I was happy to discover the last page of the menu had a special: for $17.50, you could get an appetizer (salad or an Indonesian broth), a bunch of small servings of main courses (vegetable curry; fragrant beef tenderloin; grilled eggplant; and chicken satay) and a bowl of jasmine rice, dessert (many layer cinnamon something cake with ice cream), and your choice of beer, wine, or a soda. This would prove an inexpensive means to getting acquainted with the flavorings of Indonesia, without randomly pointing to new dishes that may or may not be good.
The chicken broth was extremely sweet and cleansing of the palate. I was definitely happy with it. As for the main courses, as I’m not a fan of spicy foods, the eggplant was just a shade too spicy for my taste- and I’m not a huge fan of eggplant anyway- but the beef tenderloin was wonderfully soft and flavorful (with a bit of a kick but not enough to scare me away). The chicken satay was alright, but I’m not a huge fan of chicken satay either, much preferring beef, but it wasn’t awful either.
But the real star of the meal was the vegetable curry. Very creamy and coconutty, this went deliciously with the rice, and was plentiful with the vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots). It had the slightest touch of spiciness, and really was delightful on the tongue. We all agreed that our introduction to Indonesian food was complete, and that we would all be ordering the curry next time for a full helping of the dish.
The dessert was interesting, though, as I was beginning to realize, I’m not a huge fan of many of the flavorings from Indonesia, as it was cinnamon laced. It was moist and nicely presented, but just not my cup of tea.
Yvo says: Definitely go here if you like trying new things. It was authentic (according to the one girl who’d had Indonesian previously- in Indonesia) and inexpensive. The dishes looked to be around the $10-15 range. Although technically our choice of the special pushed our total paid to about $22 each, it really should be in the category “Cheap Eats”, so I put it there.