Ghost Chili Chicken Kebab
Michelin-recognized aRoqa is the culmination of Owner Monica Saxena’s life journey from India to California—where she was Senior Program Manager at Qualcomm managing end-to- end semiconductor chip programs in Los Angeles—to New York and opening aRoqa in 2017, now in its 7th year. Her vision for aRoqa has always been to create an elevated Indian dining experience featuring small plates allowing guests to taste multiple dishes paired with a refined, Indian-inspired cocktail menu by Beverage Director Prasad Pawar.
Executive Chef Munny Passi, who comes from a family of restaurateurs in India, began working in his father’s family restaurant at the tender age of 13 and it was there he learned the techniques of Indian cooking from many of the country’s regions. He left India for England, working in traditional Indian restaurants throughout London. He then made his way to New York and has made aRoqa his home.
Chef Munny and Owner Monica Saxena have worked on new, regional dishes that pair well with Pawar’s cocktails; there are many compelling options to choose from. The menu begins with Taste Plates, a collection of beautifully presented small plates like Vegetable Sweet Potato Cutlets, and since its inception, the aRoqa team has worked on adding new dishes such as Prawn Cutlets, chopped prawns with a blend of south Indian spices, panko crusted and golden fried; both dishes inspired by the owner’s visit back home.
For the table, Shared Plates to savor the different regions of India: Punjabi Goat Keema Matar, ground goat meat with peas prepared in a blend of chef’s special spices; Whole Baby Eggplant, cooked in a mix of five Indian spices with a hint of yogurt; and Chicken Kofta Nihari, ground chicken kofta in a house made bone broth sauce, aRoqa’s take on traditional bone Nihari served across restaurants in New York. Also available are a variety of Biryani and a selection of Stuffed Breads like Paneer Aur Hari Mirchi Kulcha, stuffed with Indian Amul cheese and green chilies. aRoqa has also included a new salad option: sprouted beans, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, onions, and cilantro, served in a lettuce bowl.
To help elevate an ever-evolving experience, Saxena has brought back Beverage Director Prasad Pawar, who also helms the bar at Michelin-Starred Vestry, by Shaun Hergatt. Pawar’s new cocktail menu is inspired by his Indian roots, utilizing spices and herbs uncommonly used in American cocktails. His creations implement all house made juices and syrups, showcasing fragrant and aromatic options that complement dishes emanating similar spices and profiles such as: Marigold and Smoke, Vodka infused with saffron and vanilla, fresh turmeric cordial, ginger juice, and habanero tincture; Bombay Gateway, gin-infused with Kaffir lime and lemongrass, lime juice, egg white, and simple syrup; and the Indian Sunset, vodka with rum, mango passion fruit purée, lemon juice, and a rose hibiscus syrup; and The Inferno, with Lemon Heart Spiced Rum, fresh carrot juice, ginger juice, and ginger cinnamon syrup. Additionally, a modest menu of Mocktails will showcase refreshing options which utilize Seedlip non-alcoholic spirits.
As 2023 has been declared the International Year of Millets by the United Nations, Chef Munny and Owner Monica Saxena, on the request from the Cultural Department of the Indian Consulate, have added brunch items to honor this with a selection made of: Ragi, or finger millets, with ragi flour, lentils, rice crepes served with sambhar “lentil and tomato soup,” with a side of coconut kaffir lime chutney and sundried tomato chutney; and Khichdi —a gluten free,vegan, vegetarian, and dairy free option— made with whole millet, lentil and rice tempered with crispy brown onions and side of cilantro chutney and plain yogurt.
Lunch specials include Paneer or Chicken Tikka Sandwiches, served with a side salad and fries; and Vegetarian or Chicken Curry Boxes, paneer or chicken tikka masala served with the vegetable of the day, rice, and bread for a quick pick up or dine in options. The full menu is also available for those looking to enjoy a sit-down meal.
The stylish interior designed by Texer Nam – whose past projects include Baar Baar –features an alluring black and gold theme adorned with pendants and spotlights that cast a warm glow over the restaurant. The cocktail bar is layered with gold plating and a black stone countertop and leads into an intimate dining room.
PHONE: (646) 678-5471