Our Man Sietsema: ‘Asking Why is Useless’


Is it acceptable to learn the majority of your history/geography lessons from Robert Sietsema? We feel fine about it. Good Sri Lankan food has arrived in Gramercy, and this week, Our Man walks us through the various influences he tasted.

The restaurant, Nirvana, comes from a Buddhist rather than Muslim or Hindu point of view, which is good for us, because that means there is pork and beef on the menu, but also plenty of vegetarian options.

Sietsema enjoyed the flatbreads called hoppers with vegetarian curry. His favorite entrees came with pittu: “a perfect white cylinder compacted of beaten rice and shredded coconut, which begins to crumble and flake as it lands on your table.” This, like the hoppers, comes with a choice of curries, but Sietsema found many of the meat variations bland, until he got lucky and dined on a day when the chef had decided to make a black pork curry:

This signature Sinhalese recipe toasts the spices darkly before grinding them, resulting in a flavor both brooding and complex. And the pork is fatty enough to make the curry glisten in the reflected light of the dining room’s wide-screen TV.

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