Chef Gaurav Anand raises the stakes for Indian food with Baazi, NYC

Gone are the days of hearty and rustic, Indian food is Insta-ready with Chef Gaurav’s latest outing in NYC – Baazi
Born of necessity, thriving on out of the box indian food, baazi is all about eclectic flavours and presentation
Born of necessity, thriving on out of the box Indian food, Baazi is all about eclectic flavours and presentation

In different waves and forms, the pandemic adversely affected the restaurant industry across the globe. Amidst the dying embers of hope came the idea for Baazi, literally a bet for hope.

Necessity is truly the mother of invention, and Baazi’s origin story goes something like that as well. Challenged to think outside the box in a high stakes situation, the team came through with an eclectic concept made from passion and love. The refreshing menu is the team’s interpretation of how Indian food should be represented on a global scale. 

Replacing Awadh on NYC’s multicultural booming restaurant scene is no easy feat. With Chef Gaurav Anand steering the ship, however, they discovered modern flair paired with traditional spices, which paved the way for groundbreaking recipes. Baazi’s menu reflects the evolution of Gaurav’s cooking, spurred by travelling to cater weddings across Italy, Spain, Turkey, Mexico, and beyond. 

The vibrant blue interiors at baazi are a skillful blend of morrocan and indian aesthetics
The vibrant blue interiors at Baazi are a skillful blend of Morrocan and Indian aesthetics

While the menu remains firmly etched in Indian culinary tradition, Baazi forgoes heavy dishes, hearty flavours and powdered spices. This menu opts for the subtler nuances of cooking, drawing natural flavours out of raw ingredients. For instance, instead of powdered coriander, Gaurav uses whole roasted coriander seeds.

The invigorating restaurant menu is complemented by a redesigned restaurant. Conceived by Design House Decor, Baazi’s striking interior transports diners to Morocco instantly with its vibrant blue decor. Paired with intricate designs inspired by traditional Indian weddings and henna adornments, this is the perfect aesthetic blend of cultures.

Chef and owner of three critically acclaimed and internationally recognized NYC restaurants, Bhatti Indian Grill, Moti Mahal Delux and formerly Awadh, Chef Gaurav Anand is one of the youngest restaurateurs in the city. He was named the “Best Caterer” in New York by NY Magazine in 2021, and has been praised by numerous media outlets for the authenticity and innovation he brings to Indian cuisine. Baazi is simply the next stop along the chef’s illustrious path, a refined addition to his various feats. 

Chef gaurav anand steers the ship at baazi, adding yet another feather to his metaphorical hat
Chef Gaurav Anand steers the ship at Baazi, adding yet another feather to his metaphorical hat

While most across NYC think Butter Chicken synonymous with Indian food, Baazi is clearly adamant about sidestepping that cliched culinary landmine. That being said, there is an interesting and creamy looking take on the dish using mushrooms instead! 

With influences ranging from Portugal to the Middle East, signature items include the Chicken Cafreal, a Portuguese Goan dish with cornish hen flambeed with iconic Old Monk Rum. For seafood lovers, there’s Cod Koliwada fish and chips with Gaurav’s signature okra fries. Other must-try orders include the papadam-crusted yogurt kebab, tamarind glazed lamb ribs, as well as a spicy goat curry.

At baazi, ditch the same old butter chicken and opt for some velvety delicious butter kalan instead
At Baazi, ditch the same old butter chicken and opt for some velvety delicious Butter Kalan instead

The Baghaar-e-Baingan stands as a true testament to the artistic blend of Indian and Middle Eastern. It’s essentially an eggplant dish prepared in Middle Eastern style (smoked on the grill) paired with a spicy Hyderabadi sauce and completed with toasted coconut, peanuts, and bedgi chilli.

Additional popular dishes include the Baazi Gobi made with cauliflower and chef’s patented sauce prepared in-house; the Kasoori Methi Chicken Tikka with toasted fenugreek and smoked paprika; and desserts like the Jalebi Sandwich filled with sticky style fennel cake and masala chai ice cream. 

The menu also features a selection of beer, wines, and craft cocktails with an Indian twist like the Indian Summer containing mango pulp or the Mezcal Passion with a dash of tamarind.

So the next time you’re in the mood for Indian food that doesn’t have you necessarily rolling out the doors, take a bet on Baazi! 

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