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Dhaka Tribune

Bangladeshi restaurant in Queens featured in New York Times

Update : 28 Oct 2017, 05:02 PM
Opened in 2015 by chef Shahara Khan, the Bangladeshi restaurant, Boishakhi, pays a nod to native cuisine of Bangladesh in New York. The new food joint in Astoria, Queens has been chosen by the New York Times critics, who review New York restaurants and has identified the place as the NYT Critic’s Pick, reports the New York Times. Astoria, Queens is among the first neighbourhoods settled by Bangladeshi immigrants starting in the 1970s. Since then, Bangladeshi restaurants, that began popping up in every corner, became almost undistinguishable from the more sub-continental ones, according to the NY Times. Located half-a-block from Masjid el-Ber, the local mosque, Boishakhi, offers the most native cuisines on its trays that are distinct to the Bay of Bengal. The name itself salutes the spirit of the Bangla New Year’s celebration. The Bangladeshi steam table serves a wide range of dishes, starting from kebabs to rice, blanketed in sepia and saffron, shutki vorta (a rough crush of dried fish), tilapia and rui, where some are curried and others are stewed. The restaurant, above all, serves hilsa. Not limited to fish, Boishakhi’s steam table is also stocked with goat curry and tabs of beef stomach. Loose dal with goat meat chunks are no exception. Thought, their kacchi biriyani is offered only a few days a week, since it takes hours to make. In order to balance out the proteins, the restaurant offers a wide variety of salads and vegetables, including gutted string beans, potato strips, and carrots and cabbage. More vortas (mashes) are assembled, such as potato and charred eggplant, to quench the curiosity of the palate. According to the NY Times, Boishakhi is more cafeteria than restaurant. Diners point to what they want and then find a spot to indulge on the food. Those unfamiliar with the cuisine, the menu is spoken and patiently described. Occasional attempt to deflect interest goes in regards with hilsa, since it has “too many bones.” The restaurant is also equipped with a larger room downstairs, reserved for  parties, or even offered to women who wish to be unseen by men they do not know, and dine more comfortably. The meal at Boishakhi is not just the end as it also serves desserts, including misti doi (sweet curd). A native of Narsingdi, chef Shahara Khan, who had spent years cooking at other restaurants in Queens, dreamed of having her own place. Hence, she opened Boishakhi, with the help of her husband, Abu Taher Atip, son, Tozammel Tanzil and her daughter, Shamsun Rimi, and brought the flavours of Bangladesh onto its steam table in New York.
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