Crown of India At Princeton Meadows

Masala Grill On Chambers Street

Kalluri Corner

Passage to India

Palace of Asia

Cochin Cove In Franklin Park

Sadya’s & Nicky’s

Chutney Mary

Suruchi Exotic

Shano’s In Newtown

More Dining

Corrections or additions?

This article by was prepared for the May 8, 2002 edition of

U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Flavor of India At Plainsboro Plaza

Flavor of India, the newest Indian restaurant, has

opened

in the space formerly occupied by the New Delhi at Plainsboro Plaza,

and its owner, Surinder Singh, is also co-owner of the neighboring

Crown of India, at Princeton Meadows. "At Flavor of India we keep

two kinds of food, northern and southern, and at Crown, there is only

North Indian," says Singh. For instance, he offers the South

Indian

Dosais, thin savory crepes made from a fermented batter of rice and

lentils and served with coconut chutney. Singh says that the $8 lunch

buffet compares well to Crown’s at $7 because it is "a very big

buffet."

On a recent Monday, accompanied by Dipti Sinha, a programmer who works

at Cylogix on Washington Road, we tried it out. A native of Mumbai

(formerly known as Bombay), Dipti is a good cook with definite

opinions

about area restaurants. When we were there, just a handful of tables

were occupied, but Mondays are slow for most restaurants, and the

service fit the mood — pleasant, but leisurely. With its subdued

lighting and paintings of maharajahs in elaborately carved frames,

the new decor seems more appropriate for saris than jeans.

Our friend Dipti was, indeed, pleased by the buffet choices offered.

Too often, she says, a buffet offers an unidentifiable melange of

curries. This one had three meat entrees, including the ubiquitous

Tandoori chicken, and three vegetarian entrees. And the recipes were

not drenched in oil.

The vegetarian entrees featured on the buffet would be $9 or $10 if

they were ordered a la carte. Two of the three have a minimum of oil

and therefore qualify as heart healthy: Dal Makhani (black lentils

with tomatoes, garlic, and ginger, simmered overnight) and Channa

Masala (chickpeas with herbs and spices in medium-hot sauce). Muttar

Paneer has more fat because it has homemade cheese (cubed and fried)

in it, along with fresh peas. The cheese seems to be a specialty here;

other varieties are flavored with coconut, served with a delicate

creamy sauce, or combined with spinach.

Tandoori dishes are good for heart healthy diets because they are

marinated in yogurt and spices (no oil) and baked in a clay oven.

Chicken Tandoori was the featured meat on this buffet. For dinner,

it costs $11 for a half portion and $16 for a full portion.

Also on the meat side of the buffet, and rather rich for some tastes,

was the Chicken Makhani (boneless chicken in a tomato sauce with

butter

and cream). It would be $11 on the dinner menu. Not quite so rich

was the Lamb Saagwala (morsels of lamb in minced spiced spinach),

which would be $12 on the dinner menu.

Aloo Tikki (a potato pancake) was a favorite of my friend ("not

too oily") and she also liked the dessert, Gulub Jamun, soft

milk-powder

balls dipped in honey syrup, served on the buffet but available for

$2.95 a la carte. "Just like my mother makes," she said. Also

popular for dessert at that price are Kheer (rice pudding with

cardamom

and pistachios) and Rasmalai (cottage cheese patties in reduced milk

with cardamom and pistachios).

Basmati rice, raita (the cooling yogurt dip), and Naan bread completed

the buffet. We also ordered Mango Lassi yogurt drinks — a must

for soothing an over-spiced palate — at $4 each, so the bill for

two was $24.

by Barbara Fox

Flavor of India, 10 Schalks Crossing Road,

Plainsboro

Plaza. 609-936-8484. North and South Indian cuisine. BYOB. Surinder

Singh, owner. Chef: Panalal Sharma.

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Weekday lunch buffet,

$8. Dinner buffet on Tuesday and Sunday, $11. The brunch buffet on

Saturday and Sunday includes a South Indian entree and costs $9. A

combination dinner for two is $35, and a three-course vegetarian meal

is $12. Reservations and credit cards accepted. Wheelchair accessible.

No smoking.

Top Of Page
Crown of India At Princeton Meadows

An elegant look and an exotic feeling: pink napkins

on glass-topped tables, cushiony leather booths, colored lights behind

traditional cut-out valances, quietly energetic ethnic music —

Crown of India provides an atmosphere that sets it apart from your

standard dining experience. Something else that sets Crown of India

apart is the service. If you don’t see it on the menu, ask for it.

They will make your food as spicy as you dare order.

You get a lot for your money here, which may account for the

popularity

of this place. Just one of the combination trays — with soups,

breads, and lots of little dishes plus rice — could be enough

for two people, and it costs $17, or $14 for the vegetarian version.

The daily lunch buffet is $7, a dollar cheaper than most places,

including

Flavor of India, another restaurant under the same ownership. That’s

partly due to the fact that Crown’s menu concentrates on just one

cuisine, northern.

The menu effectively describes the dishes for the novice. Chicken

Mango, for instance, is a fancy, rich dish said to be a favorite of

Indian bureaucrats, while Lamb Pasanda (with a North Indian sauce

of poppy seeds, cashews, almonds, and herbs) is "a favorite of

Indian Maharajas." Punjab dishes include Bhindi Masala (okra with

onions and tomatoes) and Gaigan Bhartha (roasted eggplant with peas,

tomatoes, onion, ginger, and garlic). Tandoori chicken is $11 for

a half serving, $16 for a full serving.

Fair warning is given for spice, as with Chicken Vindaloo, a Goan

special — vinegar marinated chicken cubes in a hot, spicy coconut

and tomato sauce.

All the soups are $3. Try Mulligatawny (lentils and vegetables), tangy

Tomato Rasam, or fresh grated coconut cooked in milk with almonds

and pistachios. Lassi drinks are $2.25; a mango shake is $2.95.

Crown of India, 660 Plainsboro Road, Princeton

Meadows Shopping Center. 609-275-5707; fax, 609-275-9503. Indian

cuisine.

BYOB. Surindar Singh and Kewal Singh, owners.

Lunch and dinner daily. Reservations and credit cards

accepted. Wheelchair accessible. No smoking. Private room up to 40.

Entrees from $9 to $17. Multicourse dinner for two, $35. For one,

$17. Vegetarian dinner, $14.

Top Of Page
Masala Grill On Chambers Street

Innovative Indian cuisine with an emphasis on fresh,

local, and organic ingredients is the goal at Masala Grill, and it’s

a promise that is largely kept. Originality marks the menu that

features

a variety of low-fat, healthy choices, meats, fish, vegetarian, and

vegan dishes, creatively seasoned and attractively presented.

Prices are slightly higher than average, but servings are generous

(our excellent Salmon Tikka, $14.95, could have served two). The

salmon

is just one of the "Sizzlers from the Clay Oven;" Masala also

offers a Portabella mushroom, cauliflower, and free-range Chicken

Tikka sizzling on an iron dish insulated with wood. For a fine

sampling

of this fare, the Mixed Tikka Sizzler ($14.95) from the appetizer

menu is ample for two to four starters.

A generous lunch buffet, at $10, includes soup, salad, appetizer,

two rice items, three vegetarian and two meat or fish entrees,

desserts,

and breads. A la carte lunch items might be chicken or salmon tikka

salads or sandwiches ($7.50 to $10), or go for the express masala

lunch, which includes green pea pullao (with a choice of rice), a

curry, pappadam (bread), salad, and raita (cucumber/mint yogurt).

The vegetarian version is $6. Mango lassis are $4.

Lovers of cuisine from the western region of Goa should know about

the fish curry (salmon or shrimp in coconut, tomato, and ginger sauce)

at $15 and $18 respectively.

This is the closest restaurant within walking distance to McCarter

Theater; service can be a little slow, so allow extra time. It’s worth

it.

— Nicole Plett

Masala Grill, 19 Chambers Street, Princeton.

609-921-0500;

fax, 609-921-2857. Indian cuisine. BYOB. Suchitra Patel, owner.

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Daily lunch buffet,

$10. Reservations and credit cards accepted. Wheelchair accessible.

No smoking. Entrees priced from $9 to $15.

Top Of Page
Kalluri Corner

The name means "College Corner" and decorated

with an unlikely mix of college banners and Indian folk art, Kalluri

Corner has created a niche for itself with the college crowd.

Comfortable

upstairs or downstairs dining, white tablecloths, and moderate prices

(most entrees $10 to $15) make it a popular gathering place for groups

and couples. It has 20 seats downstairs, 70 upstairs, and in this

season the outdoor balcony is an attractive option. "Good value

but not exciting" is how one of our critics describes it, but

for an Indian friend from Calcutta, Kalluri is his current favorite.

Menu offerings include a tender Lamb Rogan Josh ($12) and a savory,

sizzling Lasan Fish Tikka ($14). Appetizers are something of a

speciality

($4 and $5) and include Mini Samosa and South Indian dishes.

Vegetarian

entrees are all under $10, and any of the menu’s six bread choices

($3) generously serves two. Tandoori Lobster at $22 is the most

expensive

item on the menu. A lunch buffet is $9.

— Nicole Plett

Kalluri Corner, 235 Nassau Street. 609-688-8923;

fax, 609-688-8926. Saro Ramasamy, owner. Indian cuisine. BYOB.

Lunch and dinner daily. Reservations and credit cards

accepted. Entrees priced from $8.95-$21.95.

Top Of Page
Passage to India

The handsome menu invites diners on a culinary journey,

and indeed it offers an amazing variety of taste treats from all

regions

of India. It is very popular with expatriates and other devotees of

Indian cuisine.

Snack on lentil donuts steeped in yogurt, topped with a sweet and

sour tamarind chutney, sprinkled with fresh coconut and mustard seed,

$4. Then choose from Chicken Vindaloo, at $13, or Lamb Pasanda, with

lamb marinated and vacuum-simmered in a mild yogurt sauce flavored

with onions and tomatoes, $14. The Tandoori mixed grill is $18.

The flavor of fenugreek stars in Methi Macchi, a fish dish from the

western seaboard, $14, and in Alu Methi, which combines potatoes and

fenugreek greens, $9.95.

From the Kerala area, try seasoned fish fillets in coconut sauce

flavored

with fresh curry leaves, $14. South Indian Dosai (crepe) platters,

an unusual offering, served piping hot with a choice of fillings,

are $8 and $8.50. A "lunch box to go," including Naan bread,

Basmati rice, and salad, is $6 or $7, with tandoori items and seafood

fetching the higher price.

Passage’s buffet is $9 for weekday lunch, $2 more on weekends. The

dinner buffet is $12. On Wednesdays the buffet features Chaat, an

array of vegetarian appetizers. Lassi drinks cost $4.

Passage to India, Route 1 and Texas Avenue,

Lawrence

Shopping Center. 609-637-0800; fax, 609-637-0880. Indian cuisine.

Amit Kapadia, manager. Chef: Anil Gomes.

Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Sunday. Liquor

license, full bar with smoking allowed. Reservations and credit cards

accepted. No smoking in restaurant. Private room for 30 to 140 people.

Entrees priced from $10 to $18.

Top Of Page
Palace of Asia

Palace of Asia has a liquor license, which makes it

suitable for a leisurely business lunch. It is distinctive among area

Indian restaurants in that additionally serves American fare —

burgers, chicken fingers, fish and chips — ostensibly for

children,

but it also means that group can meet here for a business purposes

without offending traditional palates. Perhaps this catering to

American

taste account for the comment, by one of its managers, that most of

the customers are Caucasian.

The Tandoori mixed grill for two, $17 on the appetizer menu, is a

healthy, low-fat choice that arrives on a sizzling platter. Also low

fat is Aloo Palak, potatoes cooked in spinach and spices, $10.

Chicken dishes are favorites as well — 13 varieties, all about

$13. Choose from many different sauces: coconut/peanut/sesame, cashews

and raisins, garlic/ginger/tomatoes, tomatoes/green peppers/onions,

cream with coriander, coconut cream with raisins and cashews,

garlic/tomatoes/chili

peppers.

Combination dinners for two people are $45, but there is no lunch

or dinner buffet. On the a la carte menu, you will probably want such

extras as Raita (yogurt and cucumbers $2), breads, pickles, and other

condiments.

South Indian dosai, the little pancakes, are offered for lunch on

Saturdays and Sundays. Most dessert items sell for $3.50, about 50

cents more than elsewhere. Gourmet ice cream is $4.50, and the

Falooda,

a Persian drink of rose-flavored milk with tukmuria seeds and ice

cream is $5.50. A mango lassi is $4.25, and iced tea is $1.75.

Palace of Asia, 400 Mercer Mall. 609-987-0606;

fax, 609-987-1061. North and South Indian cuisine. Liquor. Sukhdev

Kabow, owner-chef.

Open daily for lunch and dinner daily, with South Indian

dosa (crepes) served for lunch on Saturday and Sunday. No smoking.

Entrees priced from $10 to $17.

Top Of Page
Cochin Cove In Franklin Park

Named after an historic port city in Kerala — the

southwestern coastal part of India that has a very high literacy rate

— this restaurant tucked into Franklin Towne Center’s outdoor

mall offers cuisine not only from Kerala but also from other parts

of South India.

A favorite is the traditional palappamm, a light, crepe-like pancake

made of rice flour and extract of palm and vegetable oil in a batter

made of fermented palm — or even beer. It goes with meat or

vegetable

stew, $18. Or try the Kerala fish curry or mixed vegetable curry with

mashed spicy yucca, called kappa ($16). Call in early for the Kadala

curry (black chick peas) or fish molee with puttu — steamed rice

flour flavored with coconut flakes, $16. No fewer than nine different

breads and five soups are on the menu.

Asked about south India’s reputation for rich food, the manager agrees

that coconut milk is a standard flavoring but that "only a little

corn oil is used," and canola oil can be used by request. For

a heart healthy entree, choose a dish that is cooked in the tandoori

charcoal/clay oven, such as chicken ($9 or $15), Chicken Tikka

(marinated

in spices & yogurt ($13), Tandoori Salmon ($18) or one of the lamb

kebabs ($13 and $15).

Special "chat" or "street food" appetizers include

boiled, boneless chicken chilled in a spicy sour mix ($4) and aloo

chat — diced potatoes, chick peas, and herbs in a sour/spicy

dressing

($3). Dosais, the thin savory crepes made from fermented rice or

lentil

batter, can be ordered from Tuesday to Thursdays.

Cochin Cove, 3391 Route 27, Franklin Towne Center.

732-422-1163. South Indian cuisine. BYOB. Sebastien Chirayil, owner.

Chef: John Joseph.

Open daily except Mondays for lunch or brunch and

dinner.

Brunch Saturday and Sunday, $11. Outdoor tables. Wheelchair

accessible.

No smoking. Private room for up to 32 people. Entrees priced from

$8 to $20. Dinner specials $11 to $13.

Top Of Page
Sadya’s & Nicky’s

John Chandy hopes to change the way Indian food is

cooked

in America. Most Indian restaurants, he claims, use the same basic

sauce and add the appropriate flavors when the order is made, whereas

his curries and kormas and biriyanis are cooked separately. Chandy

packages the sauces in freezer portions for restaurants and retail

users.

In addition Chandy serves his specialties at Forrestal Village’s food

court, Market Hall. Nicky’s offers both American and Indian dishes,

and Sadya (which means feast) will open nearby at that food court

restaurant. It will be limited to vegetarian cuisine, and banquet

service will be available.

Until then, at Nicky’s try Chandy’s version of a taco, now at an

introductory

price of 99 cents. He stuffs the familiar Mexican taco shell with

the usual onions and tomato but uses Indian cheese (paneer) and

substitutes

cilantro for the lettuce. Taco choices include lentils, chick peas,

ground lamb, or ground beef with green peas in a spicy hot sauce.

For takeout dinner try the $9 Shrimp Theeyal, cooked in a sauce made

of ghee, shallots, and coconut, a specialty from Chandy’s native

Kerala.

A low fat choice, says Chandy, might be Kerala fish curry —

boneless

fish fillet in curry sauce made with carmelized shallots and tamarind.

Biriyani rice specials, with Raitha (the spiced yogurt) and pappadam

(crisp bread), are $6 to $8. Chicken and lamb curries and kormas are

$7 and $8. Mango lassis are $2.69. Side dishes are just 50 cents and

$1.

Sadya and Nicky’s, Forrestal Food Court,

Market Hall. 609-520-1105; fax, 609-520-8337. Takeout and food court

dining. BYOB. John Chandy, owner.

Top Of Page
Chutney Mary

This banquet hall, a favorite for weddings, can host

up to 800 people but also has a dining room and is one of the few

Indian restaurants with a cocktail lounge. It lists four Indian beers

($4) and such exotic drinks as the Ali Baba (rum, pineapple juice,

grenadine, and club soda) or a serious concoction called Sharibi —

rum, vodka, gin, tequila, scotch, lemon juice and coke, also

$4. Children and teetotalers get to choose from exotic juice drinks

called Batman and Crow’s Nest or the various lassi drinks, $3 and

$3.50.

For appetizers try the mixed grill for two ($8 for the vegetarian

version, $10 with lamb, shrimp and chicken). Or Aloo Papri Chaat,

a combination of wheat crispies, chopped potatoes and peas, tossed

in yogurt and topped with tamarind sauce ($3.50).

Among the tandoori specials are chicken ($11), lobster ($22), paneer

or cottage cheese ($11), and Malai Kabab — boneless chicken chunks

marinated in ginger and garlic ($13), all barbecued in the clay oven.

Among the vegetarian masala dishes — and masala refers to spices

in general, not to any particular spice — are Chana Masala (chick

peas with tomatoes) and Aloo Gobi Masala (cauliflower and potatoes

with ginger, tomatoes, and spices) both $10. In the Indian Chinese

section on the menu — which is more spicy than the usual Chinese

food — try Vegetable Manchurian, $9.

Chutney Mary, 3793 Route 1 South, South Brunswick

Manor Inn. 732-422-7700; fax, 732-422-7309. Cocktail lounge. Owner:

Woody Patel. North and South Indian and Indian Chinese cuisine.

Open daily for lunch and dinner, with weekday lunch

buffet, $9, $12 for the weekend buffet. Three private rooms for from

20 to 800 people. Entrees from $9 to $18.

Top Of Page
Suruchi Exotic

Thursday evenings, when a special $11 buffet is served,

are popular here. The lunch buffet is $8 on weekdays, $9 on weekends.

Two shad fish dishes are listed, one in red pepper gravy, one in

mustard

sauce, $11. Tandoori chicken is $11, and Fish Tikka (swordfish steak

cooked in the clay oven) is $14. Five Kulcha ("stuffed" Naan

breads) are offered with fillings that include chicken, lamb,

potatoes,

cheese, and onions, $3 and $4. Mango Lassi drinks are priced low,

at $2.25.

Suruchi Exotic Indian Cuisine, 440 Route 130 South

at Route 571, Windsor Hights Shopping Center. 609-490-0100; fax,

609-443-7464.

Northern and eastern Indian cuisine. BYOB. Sam Sanyal, owner.

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations and credit

cards accepted. No smoking. Private rooms for up to 100 people.

Entrees

$8 to $15.

Top Of Page
Shano’s In Newtown

Curry flavors are less numerous in Bucks County, but

Shano’s Indian Cuisine offers has been in Newtown for a decade.

Though it offers no buffets, its entrees are likely to come with side

dishes. For instance, the Tandoori items — barbecued over charcoal

in a clay oven and served on a hot skillet on a bed of onions and

green peppers — include a yogurt salad, basmati rice, and dal

(lentils). Prices range from $14 for chicken, $16 for lamb, $20 for

prawns, and $21 for a mixed grill. A specialty is shorba, a soup

garnished

with white chicken meat, $4. Requests for low salt, low fat, and

degrees

of spiciness are encouraged.

Among the 10 different breads are six Naan varieties, ranging from

$2.50 to $5, including onion, cheese, mushroom, chicken, and lamb.

The "do-piaza dishes" involve cooking the meat twice, $14

for the lamb, $13 for the chicken. The Aloo Gobi (cauliflower and

potatoes) is $11, as is the roasted eggplant and most of the other

vegetarian dishes. Raita (homemade yogurt and cucumber) is $3.25,

and lassi drinks are $3.50. Lunch and dinner daily except Monday.

BYOB.

Shano’s Indian Cuisine, 49 Cambridge Lane, Richboro

Road, Newtown. 215-579-3000. Indian cuisine. BYOB.

Lunch and dinner daily except Mondays. Reservations and

credit cards accepted. Entrees priced from $10 to $21.

Top Of Page
More Dining

The Bog at Cranbury Golf Club, 49 Southfield Road.

609-799-2715; fax, 609-799-4639. American cuisine.

The Bog’s menu changes with each season — selections

are made based on the freshest and most natural ingredients available

at any given time. The chef also presents nightly specials, aiming

to create pleasing sights and tastes.

Chambers Walk Cafe and Catering, 2667 Main Street,

Lawrenceville. 609-896-5995; fax, 609-896-0445.

Cibo Cafe, 1378 Route 206, The Village Shopper,

Skillman. 609-252-0880; fax, 609-252-0099. Italian cuisine.

Crystal Garden Cafe at the Hyatt, 102 Carnegie

Center. 609-987-1234; fax, 609-987-2584. American cuisine.

Ellsworth’s Wines and Liquors, Cranbury Road.

609-799-0530.

Takeout.

Good Time Charley’s, 40 Main Street, Kingston.

609-924-7400; fax, 609-924-7070. American cuisine.

Hot Wok Cafe, 217 Clarksville Road, Village Square

Shopping Center, West Windsor. 609-716-8983. Chinese cuisine.

Ichiban, 66 Witherspoon Street, Princeton.

609-683-8323;

fax, 908-359-8551. Japanese cuisine.

Independence Cafe and Catering, 3 Independence

Way, 609-419-9699; fax, 609-419-9698. Catering.

La Principessa, Route 27, Kingston Mall.

609-921-3043;

fax, 609-921-9363. Italian cuisine.

Lucy’s Ravioli Kitchen & Market, 830 State Road.

609-924-3623; fax, 609-249-9118. Takeout, with pasta specialties.

Malaga Spanish Restaurant, 511 Lalor Street off

Route 29 south, Trenton. 609-396-8878; fax, 609-396-5514. Spanish

cuisine.

Masala Grill, 19 Chambers Street, Princeton.

609-921-0500;

fax, 609-921-2857. Indian cuisine.

Nassau Inn: The Tap Room, Palmer Square, Princeton.

609-921-7500; fax, 609-921-9385. American cuisine.

Rusty Scupper, 378 Alexander Road, Princeton.

609-921-3276;

fax, 609-924-5170. American cuisine and seafood.

Sadya and Nicky’s, Forrestal Food Court, Market

Hall. 609-520-1105; fax, 609-520-8337. Indian and American cuisine.

Sahara, 1582 Montgomery Shopping Center,

609-921-8336;

fax, 609-921-3091. Lebanese cuisine.

Santa Fe Grille & Bar, 137 Washington Street (Route

518), Rocky Hill. 609-683-8930; fax, 609-683-8931. American Southwest

cuisine.

Savoir Fare, 65 Prospect Avenue, Cloister Inn.

609-924-8587. Catering.

Shogun 27 Restaurant, 3376 Route 27, Kendall Park,

732-422-1117; fax, 732-422-4688. Japanese cuisine.

Simply Radishing, Route 1 and Texas Avenue,

Lawrence

Shopping Center. 609-882-3760; fax, 609-882-5451. American cuisine.

Stirling’s at Forsgate Country Club, Forsgate

Drive.

732-521-0070; fax, 732-521-0687. Regional American cuisine.

Featured entrees include Citrus-Coriander Crusted Tuna

Loin with Blood Orange Lie at $21.95. On Mother’s Day Stirling’s

offers

a prix fixe menu or brunch buffet at $31.95. Call 732-656-8912.

Sunny Garden, 15 Farber Road, West Windsor.

609-520-1881;

fax, 609-520-8998. Chinese cuisine.

Teriyaki Boy, Princeton Forrestal Village.

609-734-0900;

fax, 609-734-0910. Japanese cuisine.

Teriyaki Boy, 3535 Route 1, Princeton Marketfair.

609-897-7979; fax, 609-897-1204. Japanese cuisine.

Thai Village, Nassau and Olden Streets, Princeton.

609-683-3896; fax, 609-683-1981. Thai cuisine.


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