New restaurant? coming to the Salaam Bombay space

Well, this is exciting. B. sent word yesterday: posters have gone up on the old Salaam Bombay windows on Greenwich (between Duane and Reade, across from Washington Market Park) for “Upon the Palace.”

I’ve sorted through the CB1 meetings and I don’t think I have missed an application (or a renewal) for a liquor license recently — though Salaam Bombay, while closed, renewed its license in June 2020 (licenses have to be renewed every two years). And the name does not crop up easily in the Googleverse, other than a Sara Bareilles song about Vegas.

But it will be really nice to have the lights on for that stretch of Greenwich. With the park across the street, and with no tenant next door and two dark-at-night tenants on either side, it’s a bit desolate.

Salaam Bombay closed at the start of the pandemic, after 26 years in that space, and by July 2020, it was being demolished inside and the facade was being restored. The first record I have of that space is Fortune Star Chinese Restaurant, thanks to the artist Jane Freeman’s miniature “portrait” from 1993. (One family has owned the building since 1970.)

Salaam Bombay opened in October 1994, and just four months later, Ruth Reichl gave the restaurant two stars in The Times. It’s not much good to us now, but here’s an excerpt anyway because her writing is such a pleasure and because it might be helpful next time you are ordering Indian food:

“I popped a crisp tiny poori into my mouth and immediately experienced a whole range of contrasting sensations: first came the crunch of the fried shell and then the softness of the potato filling. Then my teeth closed with a snap on the yellow noodlelike shreds on top. Next I became aware of the tang of the yogurt and the sweet sourness of the tamarind sauce. Finally, at the very end, the heat of the spices kicked in. It was one small mouthful, but to me it was the taste of India.

“Every now and then, a restaurant attempts to depart from tradition and showcase the richness of regional Indian cooking; the five-month-old Salaam Bombay is the newest. The owners say that they chose the name because Bombay is a melting pot where regional food from all over the continent can be found.

“But the vegetable dishes are where this kitchen really shines. My favorite is ringna bataka nu shaak, a Gujarati eggplant and potato dish cooked with curry leaves and lots of spices. Surprisingly spicy and rather rich, the vegetables have been cooked until they are soft and fragrant. In contrast, the chef has cooked the okra in bhindhi do piaza so gently that it never acquires its usual slimy quality.

“I could happily eat Salaam Bombay’s shrikhand every day. Made of drained yogurt, this dreamy, custard-like dessert tastes of saffron, nutmeg and pistachios. It is incredibly rich and yet also tangy. Like all really good Indian food, its mysterious flavor imparts a certain sense of wonder.”



  1. It’d be great to have a restaurant there again (eat-in Chinese less pricey and scene-y than Mr Chow please), but I fear that this is another case of empty retail renting the windows for advertisements that look like they might be a new business but instead are for something else and/or digital. I can’t read the first phrase in the picture, but the others read, “The world’s best chefs on creativity” and “Leadership and perfection”, both seem to imply video content rather than a brick and mortar restaurant.

  2. That space was called Lotus Bloom Chinese restaurant back in the 80s. It was great. Downstairs i had my graduation party 1985!!
    This is how i always remember this space. Next door in early 80s was a candy store.

  3. Good luck Saaloom Bombay! We will by!

  4. I live on the block, and there are definitely workers inside doing construction. I don’t think it’s just a billboard.