Fiza Family Diner
3334 Hillside Ave New Hyde Park, NY 516-280-4688
This venue is closed.Hours: Open daily, 11a.m. to 10 p.m. Ambience: Fair Service: Good Credit cards: Accepted Accessibility: Wheelchair accesible
Great gustatory pleasure doesn't have to come at great cost. Case in point: the achari aloo wraps (also called kati rolls) at Fiza Family Diner. Peel the foil off one tightly wrapped cylinder and bite into warm, flaky paratha bread cradling a spicy-savory potato filling topped with coriander and chopped onion. Equally irresistible is a chicken malai wrap, the paratha enfolding creamy boneless chicken, eggs and the works. Without question, chef-owner Mohamed Mahbub does justice to this Indian street snack.
In contrast to this level of satisfaction is the modesty of amenities. In a room with orange and brown accents, you'll find a few straight-back wooden booths and some tables. In the front is a counter for takeout orders. On a cold night, the front door opens and a chill wind rushes in.
Best remedy: a bowl of vibrant chicken mulligatawny soup filled with rice and vegetables. Or a plate of tandoor-grilled spicy chicken wings, which radiate no shortage of heat.
Tandoori chicken legs, part of a mixed grill appetizer platter, are moist and laced with nuanced fire. But the other items alongside -- three different kinds of boneless grilled chicken and ground chicken shish kebab -- are overgrilled, dry.
Some of the same components, similarly cooked, show up in an entree called the kebab special, which includes tender marinated grilled lamb chops. This is, in every sense, a mixed grill. If you like a tangy kick, try the achari chicken, boneless poultry cooked with pickling spices in a brown gravy. While lamb vindaloo has lots of flavor, it lacks the electricity one expects. In mellow contrast is the subtly spiced Indian rice dish called biryani, which works better with vegetables than it does with chicken -- if only because the hacked poultry pieces harbor bones. A smooth vegetarian comfort is saag paneer, spinach cooked with cubes of house-made cheese. Other winners: a mixed vegetable curry and dal makhani, or creamy black lentils. But the real showstopper is aloo Gobi, potatoes and cauliflower cooked with Indian spices -- and great skill.
Breads are uniformly delectable, from jalapeño-laced naan to onion kulcha and flaky potato-stuffed aloo paratha. Finish with rice pudding -- there are two kinds, one creamy, the other firm. Both taste at once exotic, yet familiar.
Service could not be kinder, but food can be very slow in coming. Given the prices, patience pays.