February 1, 2018 By Staff Report
A new chef has taken the helm at Maya Restaurant & Bar, an Indian and Nepalese establishment that opened at 25-94 Steinway St. in May.
Shankar Lama, the chef, brings with him about 15 years of experience, most recently at the critically-acclaimed Indo-Chinese “Spice Symphony” restaurant on East 50th Street, by Lexington Avenue. He also led the kitchen at the Ramada Encore Hotel Doha in Qatar.
Lama is in the process of adding a whole new section to the menu, which will consist of Asian fusion dishes modeled after his time at the five star Manhattan restaurant.
“He started two months ago, and has been creating new dishes every week that we expect to put into a finalized menu this month,” said Maya proprietor Babu.
Most of the current dishes on the menu are either Nepalese or Indian but Babu wants to offer diners other options.
Popular Nepalese dishes already on the menu include appetizers such as steamed or chili chicken momos, and full entrees such as thali, a complete meal that comes with a choice of meat, lentil soup, basmati rice, pickled onions in red wine, naan bread and slow cooked rice pudding.
On the Indian side of the menu, existing dishes include Chicken Tikka Masala and Himalayan Curry. For all food items, customers can choose spiciness levels from 1 to 10, ten being the hottest, to better fit their palette.
“We have had many positive reviews of our dishes so far, but we wanted to expand our menu to include other items so that customers won’t have to order from a separate Chinese restaurant to receive items that we believe we can better prepare,” Babu said.
To be added are dishes such as Szechuan Chicken made with pepper corn spices, General Tso Chicken and Broccoli, stir fried chili and hot and sour soup.
Lesser known items to be added are the chicken or vegetable hakka noodle dishes, a Chinese alternative to chow mein which is rarer to find and strictly Indo-Chinese, according to the chef.
Besides these changes, Shankar will be preparing daily specials, and will be providing tours of the kitchen to those who ask.
“We have an open kitchen policy, where by request customers can visit our kitchen and ask our chef questions,” said Babu. “Our staff is open to explain how the dishes are prepared so our diners know what they are putting into their body.”
The restaurant, which can seat up to 60 people, has applied for a full liquor license which it expects to receive this month. Until then, customers who wish to consume alcohol are welcome to BYOB.
The owner, who speaks five languages including French, German, Nepali, Hindi and English, says that even though this is his first restaurant, he brings with him over 10 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry, serving as a restaurant manager at the Radisson Hotel and Resort in Kathmandu, Nepal, and working in hotel management at the InterContinental Times Square Hotel at 300 W 44th St.
Hours of operation at Maya Restaurant and Bar are 11:45 a.m to 10:45 p.m daily, and open late night on weekends.
Customers can make reservations for up to 30 people, order pickup or delivery by calling 718-255-6838.