August 29, 2009

BHOJ Restaurant
430 Market Street, Elmwood Park
(201) 797-6800

Even with the economy in decline, there are probably no less than fifty Indian restaurants in Northern New Jersey (not counting Iselin and Edison) and I am probably underestimating that. With so much competition in that cuisine, it becomes hard for individual Indian restaurants to distinguish themselves from others and to attract a dedicated set of diners, particularly if a restaurant isn’t in the best of locations.

One particularly exceptional Indian restaurant is BHOJ, a small intimate Northern-style Indian restaurant in a secluded strip mall in Elmwood Park. From the outside, it looks like more of an Adult Video store than it does a restaurant, with bright red neon lights against white curtains — and I could see how many people could just pass this place by. Frankly, Rachel and I discovered this place by accident about six or seven years ago, when we happened to be in Elmwood Park shopping for appliances for our kitchen renovation. I was hungry, and I saw the restaurant from the side of the road. We went in, and I am glad we did.

Bhoj is not a unique Indian restaurant in that they are doing dishes that are significantly different than anyone else does — they’re serving probably the same two dozen Punjab-style Northern Indian dishes you’re used to, with a few added things like Dhosas and Kaathi Rolls (which, by the way, are excellent).

The way Bhoj distinguishes itself is it does all these things exceptionally well — the spicing is excellent, they are using fresh ingredients, and they are executing the dishes consistently and with skill. It should also be noted that their portion sizes are very generous, which for this day in age is a big plus because you’ll probably end up taking food home. Plus, I think their Tandoor breads and kebabs are awesome and cooked perfectly (nothing comes dried out) which scores big points when it comes to an Indian place for me.

Bhoj also does a really nice daily and weekend lunch buffet where you can try a whole bunch of their dishes for a set price — its how we first became familiar with the restaurant and probably a good way for you to do as well.

Storefront, which resembles more of a adult business than a restaurant. Still, don’t be afraid to go inside. (2007)

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