"My parents opened this store 20 years ago under the name 'Cumin,'" said Anil Ahmed, Need. "We loved the neighborhood 20 years ago and it's only gotten better since."
So Ahmed opened Neem, named for an herb used in their cuisine. It's a mix of Indian, Bangladeshi, and even Guyanese cooking.
"I'm actually a mix of east and west Indian my mom is from Guyana," Ahmed said. "It's a unique mix because we add some flavors from the west and mix them with the east."
There's sizzling salmon tandoori, Bombay chicken which is actually Cornish hen stuffed with lamb, saag paneer made with tofu if you choose. They also have naan, both regular and gluten-free.
"A little samosa chaat with homemade Guyanese hot sauce," Ahmed said of another dish.
It's only been a month since they opened, and already they have a following.
"The quality the presentation the taste we eat here almost every day to take out," a customer said.
"Very excited to have Neem in the neighborhood," another customer said.
The family has two other restaurants, Clove in West Harlem which closed for two months during the height of the pandemic, while Kismet in Washington Heights has continued strong.
While some might say opening a new restaurant during a pandemic is foolish, Ahmed is forward-thinking.
"I just had a newborn during COVID so it was a big risk for us and our little family," Ahmed said. "We have the feeling things will get better and if you can get ahead of the curve you'll be a little better off when things level out."
Neem is open every day for dining in, delivery, or takeout from 11 a.m.- 10:30 p.m. and they hope to offer outdoor dining as it starts to warm up.
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