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The lamb biryani is an excellent choice for those seeking a nice, hearty meal. (We were so stuffed and excited, we forgot to take a picture of the restaurant!)

 

Without much fanfare, Hungry Bird — the South Bronx’s first Indian Restaurant — opened up 5 months ago in the Northern fringes of Melrose on Morris Avenue and 164th street just 2 blocks North of the Melrose Public Library and a stone’s throw away from all the courts and offices of our borough’s civic center.

The restaurant’s exterior and interior is rather nondescript with no fancy decor to distract you from the feast you are about to embark upon. The first thing you notice when entering Hungry Bird is how warmly you are received by its staff.  It’s all about you, your comfort, and your stay.

When you look at your menu, you won’t even know where to begin.  I mean it’s huge.  Not including the lunch boxes to go, there are 118 items to choose from whether it’s an appetizer or entree. There’s something for everyone and if you live or work in Melrose and the South Bronx, you know that vegetarian options are a hard find being surrounded with so many fried chicken joints, African restaurants, and Latin American cuisine — and forget about vegan.  Hungry Bird has filled that void with a plethora of selections for the vegetarian and vegan lovers out there.

Family bread basket with 4 different naans, all different yet so tasty.
Family bread basket with 4 different naans, all different yet so tasty.

We started out by ordering the Family Bread Basket which came with four different naan breads — plain, cheese, garlic, and a decadent coconut naan known as Peshwari.  Each naan was cut up into four very sizable pieces and accompanied by 3 dipping sauces:  Onion Chutney, Tamarind, and a spicy Green.

Drinking our thick mango lassis and noshing on the naan, we continued to pour over the menu wondering what to choose. With so many choices we didn’t even know where to begin so we did the next best thing and focused on appetizers.

The mango lassi was perfectly thick and just the right amount of sweetness.  Honestly , it was a meal all on its own.
The mango lassi was perfectly thick and just the right amount of sweetness. Honestly , it was a meal all on its own.

The vegetable samosas and the aloo papri (a mix of potatoes, chickpeas, yogurt, tamarind, and mint) were delicious, although we weren’t aware that aloo papri is a cold dish but still we ate it anyway and it was quite tasty.

You would think that all of this was enough (and believe me it definitely was) but we wanted more and that’s when our entrees arrived.  I had the lamb biryani (biryani is a basmati rice dish with vegetables and traditional spices) , my friend had the vegetable one and our other friend ordered the vegetarian aloo gobi, a dish made with potatoes, cauliflower in cumin and other spices with green peas.

The aloo gobi is any vegetarian lover's delight.
The aloo gobi is any vegetarian lover’s delight.

None of the dishes we had were disappointing and needless to say, we couldn’t eat everything so a doggy bag was in order to take home the leftovers (we weren’t letting anything go to waste).

Our hosts insisted that we try one of their deserts so we had the gulab jamun which is basically a fried ball of dough dipped in a sugary clear syrup and it was the perfect way this food-fest.

There is no doubt in my mind or my friends that we’re going back (in fact, this was my second time eating there already) and bonus:  They deliver within a 2 mile radius and go as far South as Bruckner Boulevard and Lincoln Avenue in Port Morris and delivery is free.

I would definitely recommend a trip to the spot since the service is very good and makes you feel like you’re being served straight from someone’s home kitchen.  The owners and staff are super friendly and patiently explained some of the dishes we weren’t familiar with.  Each time they came out with food they carefully explained what we were getting (Indian food can be overwhelming for those not familiar so this is definitely a bonus for eating in).

For those who love ordering online, you can do so via grubHub, seamless and delivery.com or you can call them at 917-801-4900 ($12 minimum for delivery).

There were very few not so great reviews on several of the above sites but the majority of them were quite favorable so don’t let that put you off.

On Yelp, George T (who gave Hungry Bird 4 out of 5 stars) wrote,

“How happy was I when an Indian place popped up out of nowhere in THE BRONX.  This momentous occasion is up there with my wedding night and the birth of my first born child, neither of which have happened just yet.

Regardless, There’s finally an indian restaurant close home, and just for existing its gets 3 stars, the extra 1 star is for just being edible.  My standards are incredibly high given the 2 year elite status.

Now that i’ve wasted your time, the food is here is actually quite good.  I’ve gotten the hungry bird special chicken vindaloo and chicken mahkani—the special is a killer deal, comes with rice, naan, appetizer, and the main dish, 2-3 meals.  The curry doesn’t blow me away, but its definitely up to par, as are the sides.  ****Chicken in the curry was not dry****

Urayoán Noel, a local writer, poet, performer, as well as assistant professor of English and Spanish at NYU wrote, “Delicious Indian food in the Concourse/Yankee Stadium area. Numerous vegetarian and vegan options. Quick and efficient delivery. A must if you’re in the South Bronx. I’m so glad they’re in the neighborhood!”

If Urayoán gave it 5 stars and thinks it’s good, then I can guarantee you that you WILL enjoy the food.

The opening of an Indian restaurant, along with its popularity, is a clear indication that folks want more diversity and are receptive in trying new things.  Hopefully people from the many diverse cultural backgrounds in The Bronx will consider opening up such establishments in the area

If you’ve eaten there, let us know what you think and if you do go, we still want to hear about it!

Hungry Bird is located at 980 Morris Avenue between 164th and 165th Streets:

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