If you want to be treated like royalty, you need go no further than the newly renovated Crown of India restaurant at the spiffed up Princeton Meadows Shopping Plaza in Plainsboro. As you enter the foyer, the massive carved wooden doors worthy of a Raja’s palace set an elegant and exotic tone. These doors were designed specifically for the restaurant in India and are reminiscent of the richly decorated illuminated manuscripts of Mogul literature. The expanded venue now boasts two function rooms, one large enough for a small wedding, seating up to 150. The other smaller room is appropriate for a business meeting, seating up to 60.
We arrived at 7:30 p.m. on a Saturday night, and there was a lively Diwali party going on in the large room, but the festivities were hardly noticeable in the public dining room except when the doors opened. The main dining area is warmly decorated in shades of curry and burgundy. Again the massive doors grace the room and are echoed in the custom designed chairs and the cabinets that line the back wall. The tables are nicely set with white cloths and flowers. We were seated immediately but several tables were filled, and the traffic was steady.
We each chose something different, knowing that part of the fun is sharing. My friend craved lamb and chose the biryani, medium spiced, which came with cooling riata for $14.95. I began with the aloo papri chaat ($4.95), always a favorite crunchy start, followed by the chicken Kashmir at $13.95. The third member of our party began with the cheese pakora ($5.95), which while deep fried was light and crisp. His main dish was the shrimp masala ($15.95). We all chose our dishes medium hot and were glad we did. The spices came through the heat strong and rich.
The dinner menu is extensive and offers as many vegetarian dishes as meat/seafood. All the favorites are there, and our choices were representative of the price range. The mixed grill is $19.95 and gives you a little bit of everything. Lunch is dominated by a seemingly endless buffet. I counted 14 chafing dishes along the buffet wall.
Specials abound with an early bird discount between 4 and 6 p.m. and a seniors’ discount. Crown of India is a good choice for a date night that is a step up from casual. The local businesses have a comfortable venue for the visiting notables or a nice alternative to lunch on the go. Kids with a taste for the spicy side of life will find plenty to choose from but will find no bland mac and cheese on this menu. The expanded rooms are a nice addition to area party venues for all manner of occasions. The makeover for the Crown of India is complete and the effects are regal indeed.
Crown of India, Princeton Meadows Shopping Center, 666 Plainsboro Road, Plainsboro. 609-275-5707. www.crown-of-india.com. Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner: weekdays, 4:30 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday til 11 p.m.