>> Sweetness USA | Eat the World NYC

19 November 2019

Sweetness USA


Sweetness USA is a place for everyone. Pakistani businessmen come in for takeout on their way home from work. Groups of women come together to buy food for their families. Another sits alone and charges her phone while screaming into a video chat. Solo male diners watch videos with one hand while eating with the other. Cab drivers are constantly double-parked on Coney Island Avenue while grabbing specials from the steam table.

While it is easy to be satisfied one dish at a time, bring a group with you and order a feast. As it becomes clear the amount of food you need, the men that run the place will start to show you a lot of attention, upping their levels of hospitality and happy to answer questions from the unfamiliar.

The previous establishment in this location was the Indian chain Mithaas, which has multiple locations in New Jersey and one in Long Island but no more in New York City. The meaning of this word is something close to "sweetness" in both Hindi and Urdu, so it was without much change that the new proprietors shifted only a tiny bit.

A meal here should be a hodgepodge of what you see and what you don't. The steam table offers the daily meals, which most patrons come in to order fast. But there are things listed on the menu behind the counter that might warrant attention as well. These could take up to 15 or 20 minutes to arrive, but if you do not have your yellow cab shift to get back to, hanging around is not so unpleasant.

On Google Maps, there seemed to be an unusually high percentage of photos of the mix grill sizzler ($12.99, above), a dish that indeed comes sizzling and requires that lead time. The mix of chicken and beef kebabs is combined with chicken tikka and fresh onions. Each bite of every type was greeted with their wonderful marinade.

The haleem ($6, below) here is prepared with barley, lentils, and chicken, and tastes like it has been cooking and improving for days. It is full of deep flavors and chilies, and perfection could legally be described as scooping some of it up with their freshly baked naan ($1).

Definitely worth an order, and what unlocks a bottle of mint yogurt sauce arriving at the table, is the chicken polao ($5.99, below), which always seems to be ready and something of a special of the house.

What sets polao, or pulao, or pilaf apart from biryani of course is the cooking method. Meats and spices are cooked separately from the rice, resulting in a lighter and more subtly spiced dish. It was agreed around the table that the version here was top notch.

The orders continued but even so it was impossible to try everything like their different types of chaat, or kati and paratha rolls which would have made excellent solo snacks.

A full tray of tikka drumsticks ($2 each, below) looked so tempting that one was ordered for each person at the table. These somehow were even better than they looked, the meat pulled off the bone without effort while remaining so moist. The marinades were just as satisfying as they were on the sizzling plate.

After seeing how well they prepared the chicken dishes here, next visits will have to include the full chicken Lahori charga ($14.99, not shown), a full bird marinated overnight and deep fried in oil.

Another table favorite was beef nihari ($6, below), a deep-colored stew that tasted rich with bone marrow. This slightly spicy dish originated with Muslims in India but is now popular throughout the Islamic regions of the subcontinent like Pakistan, where it is always on any self-respecting menu.

Add some curry to your repertoire with the goat curry ($6, below), another deep and rich ride. What they describe as an "exotic blend" is pretty much as you would expect from a Pakistani curry, with hunks of tender goat that must have been simmered for just the right amount of time.

And what would a place called Sweetness USA be without a huge selection of treats? Most of the display cases in the restaurant are used for an overwhelming amount of desserts, while branded boxes are stacked and ready to be filled with whatever you desire.

The proprietor steered the group toward a slice of their mango cake, which he described as the house special, but an assortment of treats like the one below was much more interesting. The cake itself was fairly simple and did not warrant the moniker of special.

Sweetness USA Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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