NJ Dining: Tandoori Chef/Madras Bistro

February 26, 2010

Tandoori Chef
258 Main St, Hackensack, NJ

Rachel and I recently re-visited Tandoori Chef, which has been under new ownership for 3 years. Tandoori Chef used to be part of the same restaurant group as the now closed Indian Chef in the International Food Warehouse in Lodi, but has since undergone significant changes, including the re-branding of the cafe space that it owns next door, which used to be Veggie Express but is now Madras Bistro. It should also be noted that Tandoori Chef has recently lowered the price of its lunch buffet to under $10 a person, and we intend on checking that out soon.

Indian Chef and Madras Bistro in Hackensack are serving some of the best North Indian and South Indian Food in Bergen County.

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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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Meatopia VI: Oy With The Lamb Already

August 25, 2009

Every year, at the time during the late summer when the stars align in the shape of a medium rare hamburger, the foodie elite of the world converge on a single place, much as in ancient times when the Pagans converged on the Stone Henge to celebrate the solstice.

But instead of dancing around naked and eating questionable vittles around giant stone monoliths, we converge (mostly) clothed upon Water Taxi Beach to celebrate the birthday of one of our own, Citysearch.com food editor, notorious carnivore Feedbag food blogger Josh Ozersky, aka Mr. Cutlets, also known as the devourer of worlds.

Each year, it’s been a different themed creature that is sacrificed and prepared a multiple of ways in order to feed the hunger of the Beast from Brooklyn. This time, it was a whole flock of lamb.

Meatopia 2009: Lamb by you.

Here’s one of the cute little animals being cooked over hot coals on a rotating spit. Wanna see it on video? Yes, of course you do.

Meatopia 2009: Lamb by you.

The smell that was permeating Water Taxi Beach was absolutely seductive. With all this Lamb, shouldn’t we be celebrating the re-birth of our lord and savior?

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