Well over 15 years ago, when I was visiting Sri-Lanka, I had one of the best meals at the home of one of the local residents. I can’t remember what I ate but just remember it being one of those truly unforgettable meals. Ever since then, I have been trying to find shadows of that meal somewhere….anywhere …….here in New York City.
My search led me to Sigri on the Lower East Side. Sigiri is perched in a small space on top of an ethnic gorcery store right around the Bangladeshi- Indian Restaurant Row on East 6th street.
Here is some of what we ate:
This appetizer is a breaded, deep fried fish and potato cutlet. I thought the fish cutlet was pretty good. It lacked the spice I expected from it and the breading was a bit too thick but it was quite tasty.
Aapa’s are wafer thin, bowl-shaped pancakes made from a fermented batter of rice flour and coconut milk. I’ve had different versions of these in South Indian cuisine and they are delicious. The thing about Aapa’s or apams ( in Indian food) is that they have to be served hot and has to have that fine balance between soft and crispy. I found the Aapas at Sigiri served a little too cold and crispy. It’s rather hard to mass produce Aapas but Sigri’s are definitely worth a try.
The Aapa’s were served with a Coconut Sambol (Pol Sambol) and Onion Sambol (Seeni Sambol) – which were both very good. A Sambol is sauteed onions or coconut with chilies and Sri Lankan spices.
This is the dish I was looking forward to the most. Kotthu Rotiis a Sri Lankan street-side specialty prepared from elasticated doughy pancake chopped into shreds, stir fried with vegetables, onions, egg. I thought Sigiri had a good Kotthu Roti.
DEVILED GRILLED PORK
This dish had sweet and spicy grilled pork that was tossed with sautéed onions, capsicums and Sri Lankan herbs and spices. This dish had a very “Indian -Chinese” flavor to it. I was a bit surprised and didn’t like it very much. The pork was kind of chewy and the flavors just didn’t go with all the rest of the dishes we are having.
The fish curry had a coconut milk sauce with a blend of traditional Sri Lankan spices. This curry was pretty good. It actually tasted good with the Aapa’s and on white rice.
I have to say that the meal I had was a bit dissapointing as I know all that Sri-Lankan cuisine really can be. The next time, I would try different things like the Sri-Lankan Crab Curry and the Chicken Lamprais. But the eats served at Sigiri do pack a punch of flavor and are dirt cheap! The server is very friendly and for all that – its definitely worth a revisit.
MY RATINGS FOR THIS MEAL
Service: ☆☆☆Price: $I recommend: Fish Cutlets, Aapa’s, Kotthu Roti(All ratings are out of a possible 5 stars. Each establishment is individually rated based on my experience of that particular meal. Ratings are also based on my expectations of quality of food, value for money, service, ambiance and overall experience)