The name of this tidy 50-seat restaurant at once recalls the beloved 1988 movie “Salaam Bombay!” and the enduring Jewish tradition of the city now called Mumbai.
Glatt kosher though it certainly is, there is nothing particularly Jewish about the cooking here — though as Joan Nathan, the author of “Jewish Cooking in America” (Knopf, 1998), points out, Mumbai is a favorite destination of vacationing Israelis. “Indian food is like Israeli food,” she told me. “They do a lot with eggplant, chickpeas and potatoes. It’s exotic, with all these sauces and spices.”
These flavors come through vividly in the cooking of the veteran chef, Paul Singh, a native of Delhi. Appetizers like papri chaat and pakoras are crisp and grease-free; Indian breads are fresh, warm and properly blistered; and the two entrees we tried, reshmi kebab (boned chicken marinated with cashew paste) and lamb stewed with spinach, were precisely cooked and vigorously spiced.
Who comes to a place called Shalom Bombay? “Muslims, Jews, non-Jews,” said Alan Cohnen, one of two partners who opened the restaurant in October 2008. “We see a lot of couples out on dates. The ethnic food is such an icebreaker — it gives them something to talk about.”