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Tastebuds Tingle In Hicksville

Relocating to a new country can be intimidating enough, but taking on a brand-new occupation once you get there as well? It’s enough to make someone think twice about the whole thing and just stay put.

But not Kumar K. Chhetri, owner of New Chilli and Curry restaurant located at 106 Woodbury Road in Hicksville. Originally from Nepal, where he worked in the antique jewelry trade, Chhetri moved to the United States nearly 20 years ago for a change of scenery as well as a desire to try out a new career.

“I love to eat, I love to cook,” he said. “So I decided to get into that business since I thought it would be nice to do something that I loved for a living.”

Chhetri has been involved in the restaurant business for at least 20 years, he said, noting that he’s worked in Indian, Italian, and many other styles of eateries in the capacity of chef, manager, and (early on) even busboy. However, New Chilli and Curry, which has been open since 2008, marks the first time establishment he's owned.

“I knew it was the right time because I know the business inside and out,” he said. “So, when I had a little bit of money, I thought, why not open a small restaurant, according to my budget? It was a gamble. Whatever I owned for the past 13, 14 years, I put into here. And it’s paid off.”

New Chilli and Curry seats approximately 34 in a comfortable and vibrant setting. Chhetri, who is married and lives in Hicksville (his one son also works at the restaurant), notes that his eatery serves a unique cross-section of Asian and Indian-style dishes that can be seasoned to suit all tastes.

“We have fusion Indian/Chinese food, fusion Thai food, and regular Indian food. Some of our most popular dishes are barbecue chicken, rack of lamb chops...people love it,” he said. “First, I want to know how spicy you can handle it, and if you have any allergies. However you like it, I will make it to order and do my best to satisfy and make the customer happy. And they will definitely come back.”  

Such talk is not simply idle boasting, as we had a chance to sample some of Chhetri’s wares; the Malai Kabab, succulent pieces of chicken marinated with Indian herbs and almonds and served with a cashew nut paste, was a delicate and satisfying treat for the taste buds. The same could be said for the fried shrimp, which was wrapped in coconut powder and tossed with garlic and chili. This dish was an equal mix of spicy and smooth, with a vibrant flavor that had us begging for more.  

Positive public reaction to New Chilli and Curry has Chhetri thinking of the possibility of opening another establishment in the future, however, the harsh economic times have him exercising some caution when it comes to seeing if he can duplicate his first-time out success.

“I’m thinking about it and I’ve looked around a little, but the restaurant field is very tough,” he said. “It’s very expensive. Rent will kill you, especially in the restaurant business. But I’m looking and if it happens, it happens.”

Clearly, Chhetri’s dedication to great food and customer service have worked out wonderfully for him; one only has to visit New Chilli and Curry come dinner time to see that his many repeat customers are only more than happy to do whatever it takes just to get in the door, let alone get a table.

“We’ve very busy, especially at dinner time,” he said. “At dinner time, people wait an hour or even an hour and a half...they just wait. They’ll ask for a small glass of wine, or beer, or whatever they want, but they just wait, because the food is that good.”

News

A group of like-minded local residents banded together and saved more than 200 area trees from the chopping block — for now.

A state judge ordered Nassau County and the Department of Public Works to stop cutting down trees along South Oyster Bay Road, granting a temporary restraining order to a group of residents spearheading an effort to save the trees.

State Supreme Court Judge Antonio Brandveen scheduled a hearing on Thursday, Oct. 16 for the county to address complaints from residents, in particular a group called Operation STOMP (Save Trees Over More Pavement) founded by Hicksville native Tanya Lukasik.The Public Works department had planned to removed more than 200 30-foot trees in communities ranging from Plainview, Bethpage, Hicksville and Syosset.

For the past 16 years, Lucia Simon has walked from her home in Hicksville to her job at the Hicksville Public Library. She enjoys her job as a librarian and says that the staff has become like family to her. But for the past three years, Simon and 56 fellow co-workers have been frustrated at what she says is the library’s board refusal to negotiate a fair contract.  

“We have had no contract in three years. They refuse to bargain with us. Every time they come back to us it’s not fair,” says Simon.

However, the board of trustees disagree, saying that it has made a “fair offer.”


Sports

The Girls Varsity soccer team, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wore pink uniforms and pink socks in their game on Oct. 8 against MacArthur whom they defeated 1-0. The girls and boys soccer programs at Hicksville High School are selling pink ribbon car magnets with a soccer ball and HHS on it with the words “Kick Cancer” on the ribbon. All the money raised will go to the Sarah Grace Foundation, which is a local foundation trying to beat pediatric cancer. The players plan to raise $1,000 for this organization

— From Hicksville High School

Hicksville native progressing through Mets system

The Mets minor league system is enjoying a rare period of prosperity. For years, it was barren due to trading off high-ceiling players for major leaguers, or neglecting the draft in favor of the free agent market. Since General Manager Sandy Alderson took over, the organization has reversed course and put a much greater emphasis on player development. During his second-to-last season, however, former GM Omar Minaya took a chance and drafted a local catcher, Cam Maron, out of Hicksville High School in the 34th round.


Calendar

Board of Education Meeting

October 22

Oktoberfest

October 25-26

Pancake Breakfast

October 26



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com