The dining room at Tagmo
Tagmo is closing its doors on Dec. 31. Photo by Molly Tavoletti, courtesy of Tagmo

Dish By DishNew York

The Dishes You’ll Want to Order at New York’s Tagmo, Before It Closes This Month


At Tagmo, it’s not just about the food – it’s about the experience, the feeling you get when you’re sharing a meal with friends and family in the cozy, warmly dressed dining room. Dining at the South Street Seaport restaurant, which opened in 2021, feels more like stepping into chef-owner Surbhi Sahni’s own home than a restaurant, and she’s cooking for you.

“I’ve always stayed true to the idea that if you were to come to my home, and I was cooking for you, what would I cook?,” Sahni says. “We started with a super tiny menu of homestyle dishes, and with a small following” says Sahni. “I am very grateful to see the amazing response we’ve gotten from everyone; so many people have shown up and truly supported us through this journey.”

The restaurant, which celebrated its second anniversary recently, however, is closing its doors on Dec. 31. “It’s been amazing to create some new food, and I’ll miss seeing my neighbors come through the doors regularly, but it’s also not a complete break from the community, and I hope to continue doing the work that I am doing now,” she says.

Surbhi Sahni. Photo courtesy of Tagmo Photo courtesy of Tagmo

Sahni will continue to sell her mithai (sweets) online, and there’s a possibility that she may be able to keep the current restaurant space open for community events and pop-ups in the future.

Still, that means you’ve just got just a few weeks left to experience one of the city’s most unique restaurants for homestyle Indian cooking inspired largely by New York. Some prime examples? Sahni’s love of Chinatown and Indian Chinese cuisine shows itself in small plates like prawn toast and tempura paneer. She also added an American classic, fried chicken, epitomizing her journey as a chef in the U.S. over the last 23 years. “I’ve been able to grow and experiment and have fun — to see the responses, and to see [diners] actually enjoying all the hard work that I’m putting in has been really amazing,” she says.

Here, in her own words, Sahni describes six dishes from Tagmo’s dinner menu.

Note: Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Chile noodles Photo courtesy of Tagmo
Chile noodles Photo courtesy of Tagmo

1. Chile Noodles

Gujarati-style khandvi meets chow fun. Chickpea flour noodles tossed in Kashmiri chili oil and topped with scallions and sesame seeds

“I love the chile noodles that are served in Chinatown. It’s one of my favorite things to eat. We had a dish on our menu called khandvi from the West coast state of Gujarat: chickpea flour noodles stuffed with coconut and soaked with cilantro chutney. They are a favorite. So, when I was developing the new menu, I knew it was a must have. One day there were some extra noodles lying around and I thought, ‘Oh, let me make some chile oil and toss it with some sesame.’ It was so delicious and so flavorful and such a fun dish that I thought it should be on my table no matter what.

“We make our chile oil with Kashmiri chiles, which are slightly smoky but not as spicy, and are a very deep red color. The noodles are sweet, salty, and spicy — a little smoky in flavor. It’s a full experience to have these.”

Curry leaf fried chicken Photo courtesy of Tagmo
Curry leaf fried chicken Photo courtesy of Tagmo

2. Curry Leaf Fried Chicken

Crispy chicken with curry leaves and Floyd Cardoz’s Goan masala powder. Served with an Assamese black olive and jaggery chutney for dipping

“Southern fried chicken is one of my favorite dishes that I’ve tried in the U.S. I’ve been wanting to have fried chicken [on the menu] since the day we opened the restaurant because it’s reflective of my journey. I was brought up as a vegetarian, and the first time I tried chicken, it was fried chicken.

“I added curry leaf because I just love the plant so much. The smell of the leaf is just so ethereal and lemony and grassy – add it to any sort of a dish, and it’s just so spectacular.

“A dear friend of mine, Barkha Cardoz, has these spice mixes [from Burlap & Barrell] called Floyd’s Masalas, in honor of her late husband, the chef Floyd Cardoz, and I’ve been using their Goan masala forever.  This mild masala mix is an earthy blend of turmeric, black pepper, cumin, cinnamon verum, ginger, and cloves, and I added that as an homage to Floyd. He was one of the most amazing Indian chefs that came to the U.S. and truly brought Indian cuisine to America; he was one of the first ones to bring it to the more upscale market.

“The sauce was the most fun thing to make; it has dates, olives, and jaggery – it’s actually an Assamese sauce. I wanted to pair the crispy chicken with this sweet and spicy sauce; it really balances this dish beautifully.”

Pomegranate eggplant Photo courtesy of Tagmo
Pomegranate eggplant Photo courtesy of Tagmo

3. Pomegranate Eggplant

Japanese eggplant on top of a tamarind-tomato sauce with pomegranate seeds and cilantro

“Pomegranates are found in Indian cuisine everywhere. In the U.S., it’s mostly used as a fresh fruit, but we use pomegranate powder, which is a souring element in sauces. This eggplant dish is a combination of tamarind, tomatoes, and some pomegranate powder for that sweet-and-sour flavor.

“I made this particular dish a few years ago when I was testing Kashmiri recipes. It’s a play on the tangy, stewed eggplant dish called khatte baingan, a Kashmiri-style brinjal. And I loved it the first time I made it, so much that I’ve been wanting to introduce it to our menu ever since.”

Lamb and egg pulao Photo courtesy of Tagmo
Lamb and egg pulao Photo courtesy of Tagmo

4. Lamb and Egg Pulao

Saffron rice layered with minced lamb, mint, and cilantro, with a fried egg on top

“We make pulao at home, which is a pilaf-style rice made with seasoned broth and long grain rice. It’s like a version of biryani, but biryani can be a little bit more oily and slightly heavier than the pulao, where the rice is separated and it’s lighter. Generally we would eat some sort of curry with it but I wanted to pair it with a fried egg on top because I love the idea of breaking that yolk and combining it with the rice.”

Paneer tempura Photo courtesy of Tagmo
Paneer tempura Photo courtesy of Tagmo

5. Paneer Tempura

Tempura battered paneer on top of a ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and chile oil

“I love tempura! And for this particular recipe I make what we call a Manchurian sauce, as a nod to Indian Chinese cuisine, which I love. It’s this really amazing marriage of very crispy paneer that is in this sweet, salty, spicy soy-based sauce with tons of scallions and peppers in it. I know the guests that have tried it so far are saying that they just want to sit down and drink the sauce. I mean, so do I, but that’s generally the reaction from people.

“The dish is texturally very interesting because it’s soft on the inside, crunchy outside, and the sauce itself is warm. And the paneer slowly absorbs the flavor. The sauce: There’s a ton of ginger in there, a ton of garlic. It’s really very flavorful.”

Prawn toast Photo courtesy of Tagmo
Prawn toast Photo courtesy of Tagmo

6. Prawn Toast

Fried toast topped with minced shrimp with caramelized onion, tomato chutney, and pickled carrots

“I love prawn toast from any of the Chinese places, and I’m obsessed with things like chutneys and pickles. So many Indian dishes are made whole by the addition of chutneys and pickles. For this dish, I was thinking about how an Indian might make prawn toast, because it’s not really a part of our culture, but I knew I would have to put a chutney and some sort of pickle on it. So I’ve made a tomato chutney with spicy pickled carrots. It’s an amazing mix of India, Vietnam, and China.”


Tagmo is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5 to 10 p.m. and Thursdays through Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. and from 5 to 10 p.m. Its last day of business will be Dec. 31. Follow Tagmo on Instagram for the latest updates on future events and pop-ups.

This guide was written by Queer Food Foundation board member Amanda Celestino. The Queer Food Foundation is a collective of queer individuals who work at all intersections of the food system — from food justice, culinary to community organizing, media, hospitality, and more. The foundation is passionate about holding space for the queer community in food and aims to share their skills, knowledge, and experiences to create a thriving, represented, and intersectional food system. Follow the Queer Food Foundation on Instagram. Follow Resy, too.