The first floor of the sprawling white building beside Flushing Bay is a devoted banquet room for up to 250. Here, the cuisine is American, Continental and Indian. Upstairs you dine Indian at the daily lunch buffet and dinner.
We entered at "World's Fair Marina Shea Stadium" and drove past the Statue of Liberty-bound yachts docked on the right along the water outside the restaurant. After dinner we strolled along the promenade in front of it. (Viewing the distant string of lights is reminiscent of the Queens Necklace, lights along the drive in Bombay.)
There was to be a wedding that evening and the tables were white with white slip-covered chairs with stylized gold bows in back. Upstairs in the restaurant, the look is the same - bustled gold bows. And there's a small alcove to one side with strips of tiny lights crossing the ceiling where I'd love to dine with a group of eight or even 12. At dinnertime the lunch buffet chafing dishes are put away, merely covered with silver discs - and it, too, was eye-catching.
A pyramid of white and yellow mums was on our table. A votive light flickered there. Specialty drinks at the World's Fair Marina have Oriental leanings. The ample martini glasses with a hefty indigo stem come with a sturdy lemon rind curled over the rim. Poppadums are brought with dipping sauces in a three-compartment brass dish beneath a wee brass umbrella. The poppadums were spicy hot, but the meal itself was tame.
Knowing that you can always count on Indian, tandoori-baked breads being superb, we two went for the threesome, babey da Chhaba, an assortment of the classic puffy, white flour, pita-like round naan; onion kulcha (a white flour round stuffed with onion and spices) - our favorite - and alu paranthha, a whole wheat bread stuffed with potato, coriander and spices. There'd be goodies for snacking the next day. Hooray!
My dining companion was interested in a soup, and I was tempted. Three to choose from: a traditional Indian tomato with croutons, chicken (cream of chicken cooked with Indian herbs and spices with chicken tidbits) and sweet corn soup with chicken or vegetable stock and kernel corn. The cream soup was incredible - frothy thick and velvety.
My intriguingly crunchy appetizer, chat dehli wali, was a delightful combination of crispy potatoes and chick peas tossed with a bit of yogurt and tamarind sauce. Highly recommended. My companion ordered lamb sholey "tender chunks of lamb grilled with vinegar and salt." What was served was lamb in a sauce. The marina omelet appetizer sounded interesting - eggs with green peppers, onions and coriander on toasted bread. Not a Western omelet but an Eastern rather.
Lamb sag, a unique combination of lamb and chopped spinach cooked in mild spices and herbs, always a wonderful entree, is more wonderful at the World's Fair Marina. The spinach isn't chopped but practically pulverized that becomes a thick, voluptuously creamy coating on each bite of lamb. The tandoori shrimp, marinated in exotic spices, grilled in the tandoori oven, weren't the anticipated "jumbo."
Ice cream is a fitting finale for an Indian repast. Kulfi, Indian-style ice cream, is uniquely special. On the menu, it is noted that "Kesri Kulfi is a traditional royal dessert of ice cream." My "pineapple" was gorgeous. And the Marsala tea, special indeed, creamier than I remembered it in India or on this side of the Pacific.
Go for the view to the World's Fair Marina and it will be tasty, too. There are three chefs, two from India, one from Nepal. Two other Indian restaurants, one in Long Island City and one in Bellerose, have been under the same ownership. If you find the poppadums offering "hot," say so, cough a bit, and dinner will be one bite fits all.
The Bottom Line
Indian restaurant and banquet hall with American, Continental and Indian cuisine. Dramatic waterfront setting on bay with planes landing at LaGuardia. First-floor banquet halls. Second-floor buffet lunch and dinner. Stroll along waterside promenade before or after.
World's Fair Marina
Banquet & Restaurant
World's Fair Marina
Mix Vegetable Pakora (assortment of chickpeas battered vegetable chili, potatoes, onions and spinach)...$3.50
Lamb Sholey (tender chunks of lamb cooked on grill with vinegar and salt)...$8.50
Garlic Shrimp (medium shrimp battered with garlic and spice)...$9.50
Fish Tikka (cubes of fresh fish seasoned in fish Masala spices)...$14.95
Chicken Taka Tak (boneless chicken pieces cooked on tawa with tomatoes, onions and bell peppers)...$9.95
Gulab Jamun (cheese roundels dipped in honey syrup) ...$3.95
Kesri Kulfi (traditional royal dessert of ice cream) ...$3.95
Cuisine: Indian. (Banquet: American, Continental & Indian)
Setting: Dramatic bay view with planes landing at LaGuardia
Hours: D 7 days. Lunch buffet 7 days
Location: World's Fair Marina. Exit 9E GCP or exit 13 Van Wyck
Dress: Casual (with shoes & shirt) or sari
Credit cards: All major.
Children: Own menu
Off-premise catering: Yes
Banquets: To 250. (Also outdoor dining)
Noise level: Fri & Sat quiet
Handicap access: Banquet rooms first floor. Dinner & buffet lunch second floor. No elevator or escalator.
©2003 Community News Group
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