Haldi Chowk, ShopRite Plaza, Middletown

Stopped by for the buffet at Haldi Chowk today which was, in one word, excellent.

On the plate we have pakora, tandoori mixed grill, daal, chikn tikka masala, and goat curry, with a small dish of raita in the background and a few papadam. This main plate was accompanied by a basket of fresh garlic herb naan:

Also included were two vegetable curries, a potato okra fried, and an eggplant squash stew.

Everything was individually and delicately seasoned. My favorite was the goat curry. Deepak picks out the goat sections himself, and goes for those with the smallest hooves. As a result the meat was young, tender, and more like kid, not strongly flavored just seasoned with kiss of cardamom.

The daal included red beans and paneer, and again was delicately seasoned. The chicken tandoor was moist and flavorful, the best I’ve had in a long time, though Deepak said he was disappointed in it today. The tikka masala was perhaps most surprising, again delicately seasoned and not at all heavy on the garlic ginger, tomato and heavy cream, as this dish often is. The cooling raita featured tomato, cucumber and mint.

About the only disappointment was the pakoras, but then these are seldom good on a buffet.

Deepak, the proprietor, was having a salad next to me while watching the register. He is a very interesting young man. Born in America of Punjabi descent, he is very intent on delivering a superior product. He has been traveling around India to sample various regional cusines, which he hopes eventually to introduce to the restaurant.

Deepak has hired a chef with experience in a Michelin star kitchen. He is also insistent that everything on the lunch buffet is of the highest quality. Finally he has plans to introduce specialty evenings like dhosas with a griddle in the middle of the restaurant.

This excellent buffet was well visited by diners from the subcontinent, but deserves broader patronage. Everyone should visit soon, and visit often. We have needed a good South Asian restaurant in our area, and Haldi Chowk is very good.

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I was happy to read your detailed description of the buffet at Haldi Chowk and the interesting information about Deepak and his plans for the restaurant. I’ve been there for dinner three times in the last month and, needless to say, I was enjoyed the food. Among my favorite dishes we the Aloo Chat, the Dal Makhni, the Butter Chicken, and the Goat Curry. The service was always very good and Deepak is a gracious host. Now I’m looking forward to going for the buffet.

Nice write up. I will have to give this a shot.

Also very cool that he posted a help wanted in the Middletown group on FB, looking to hire within the area.

Best of luck Deepak, we will be in soon. Thank you Viking for the informative writeup.

The buffet is just $ 10.95 plus tax, so it is hard to go wrong.

Yep, it’s a winner.

I once got a three foot long black hair in my daal at Neelam😱 ! Never, ever, again.

I noticed that there are tandoor roasted lamb chops on Haldi Chowk’s menu, something Sawan doesn’t have. As I’m very keen on them, that’s definitely the impetus for me to make the trip to Middletown to try them. The best I’ve ever had were from Chef Hemant Mathur. A tandoor master, he’s been executive chef/partner at several NYC Indian restaurants including Michelin-starred Devi and Tulsi.

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I saw on Facebook one weekend that he was offering free samples and a guided tour of Indian food. Being a newbie to Indian food it can be intimidating. I wanted to go but the schedule just didn’t line up.

Thank you for this post. Sounds like a great place to learn more

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That’s a VERY smart move!!

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I’m thinking of dinner here tomorrow. Has anyone had dinner yet?

So I went last night and I’m giving this place two thumbs up. Great food, service, prices and a convenient location make this a well rounded spot for me.

Im not sure this was on the menu but we stared out with a mixed appetizer that came in a scalding hot pan garnished with lime. I asked the waitress what the best app was and said we wanted that. It had fish, chicken, shrimp and sausage. The chicken and shrimp were the best. The onions were great and cooked up nicely to my liking… progressively getting better as they sizzled away.

Some garlic and chili naan was a another great starter I’d recommend.

I ended up getting lamb vindaloo and this was spot on. Healthy chucks of moist lamb meat melted in my mouth. This was quality lamb and not grizzled garbage lamb like I’ve had in the past…Not one huge chunk of grizzle or sinew. This dish is prepared with care…I could tell. The acidity level, spice, heat and rendered out lamb fat all danced in sauce harmony. This is a strong dish and prepared hot per my request. For 15 bucks I found a winner!

The curry goat my cousin had was just OK for me. He gave me a chunk and it was decent. It wasnt bad but my lamb blew it out of the water.

For anyone near Middletown there is a 20% off coupon in the "community coupons " little booklet. 56 bucks before 20% off…not bad. I’ll be back. Ps…both of us ended up taking a to go dish and they even gave us a free extra bowl of rice. Good stuff.

My cousin John tearing up some goat…


Lamb vindaloo is always an excellent choice !

I liked the goat but it was not real spicy.

So any dinner plans here viking? I’m looking to get back and do the josh rogan.

@VikingKaj is deepak like 6 4" or is he the smaller guy?

Might be a good day for this place today

Deepak is like 6 ft and wears glasses. He’s usually at the reception desk when you walk in, and is pretty outgoing.

I would be up for lunch sometime soon, dinner is usually a little more problematic for me.

Ah ok. I think he arrived midway through my meal, and the Manager was the taller gentleman. I didn’t meet him, but would like to congratulate Deepak on a nice start. That place has some awesome potential and I hope it does well.

Have you tried any soups yet?

Back at Haldi Chowk today again for lunch.

It was absolutely delicious again, as usual. Today the tandoor chicken was absolutely banging! So good. Perfectly cooked.

Shag Paneer was also really good, creamy and garlicky. Their goat curry, what can I say, tender perfection in cardamom. And they also had a vegetarian Kofte with cheese and carrot in a delicate curry. Unusual and so good.

And it was busy, busy, which is so comforting. Places like this deserve to survive and thrive.

Deepak remembered me and the review, and asked me to thank all the Ho’s for their patronage. He also mentioned that he and his dad went to the place in Sayreville based on what they read here, and found out the proprietor is from the next village over in the Punjab.

Good job fellow Ho’s, keep lighting this place up. It’s worth it.

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Good news! I’ve been trying to get here for weeks and weeks but can’t round anyone up. I think I will fly solo, possibly tommorow.

Johnny, I’d be game to meet you for lunch today or tomorrow if you still want company…been dying for some good Indian! Anyone else feeling spontaneous??? @joonjoon? @coldsolderjoint? @seal?

Thanks for the review. We stopped by back in early October for dinner, very hungry ready to enjoy group of four-but the Mgr. stated there would be a 45 min. wait for the food so we moved on. Still meaning to try Haldi Chowk.

Have you had any issue with a long wait for your food order?