Indian recommendation in Monmouth County

A friend and I are going to dinner sometime in November. We were thinking of trying an Indian place. Are there any good places in Monmouth County. We are closer to the shore, but don’t mind driving north or west.

You would do much better with Indian food in Middlesex County. However, for “solid” Indian in Monmouth, I would try Tandoor E India in Ocean. What it lacks in ambiance it makes up for in the quality of the food as well as the good nature of the owner. Good luck.

I use to really enjoy Indian food but kept having adverse reactions so I’ve given up eating it. This was my favorite place;

They have moved locations since I’ve last been. The old location had a very nice dining room, this one I can’t attest to.

@heidicooksandbakes, I would recommend Indian Grill, in the Bagel World strip mall, on Route 9 North, in Manalapan. It’s less than a five-minute drive from our house. We’ve had lunch there several times, a sign that we like the food which is well-prepared and tasty. When they first opened in 2012, the interior was very plain, but they eventually did some decorating so that eating there is quite pleasant.

Indian Grill

Here’s the photos set on my Flickr from our last visit there: Indian Grill

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People have recommended Neelam on Route 35 in Middletown. All I can say is that it was good twenty years ago, but we haven’t been there lately.

@NotJrvedivici, We ate at the original Masala Kitchen a few times and thought the food was pretty good. It was a huge space with very attractive décor. There were never many people there when we went. Haven’t been to the current location. I knew they had moved but didn’t know where. Via their website, I see they’re on Route 9, in Morganville, and from the photo it appears they’re in a strip mall. I’ll definitely have to check it out.

Masala Kitchen Express Website

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Exactly, I use to get take out for lunch at their old location and was impressed with the space, as well as their food. Please post if you do go, would like to hear about it.

Not a strip mall, but a small building on the northbound side just before the Costco at Route 9 and Texas Road.

Thanks for the info, @eleeper. I haven’t been down that stretch of 9 North in a very long time, but I think I know where that building is.

@NotJrvedivici, It will be a while before we’ll be able to try it. When we do, I’ll definitely report back.

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Those are all some good suggestions. I’ll run them by my dining companion, and report back after we’ve gone!

Dinner report for the Indian Grill, on Route 9 in Manalapan.

My girlfriend and I had a very nice dinner last night. The room was very comfortable, and there were two other tables of people eating. They also did some takeout business. We have never really had Indian food before, so we wanted to order a tasting of a few things.

We started with the vegetable samosas which came with mint sauce and tamarind sauce. They were sitting on a bed of cabbage. Inside were greeen peas and other things, and they were slightly spicy. They were very crisp and good. I liked the mint sauce on them more than the tamarind. In fact, it was nice to dip the cabbage into the mint. That was refreshing.

Second appetizer: vegetable pakoras. They contained a lot of shredded veggies, and two sauces. I don’t know what veggies were in them, but I did see grated carrot. They were nicely done, and we enjoyed those as well.

For the entrees we picked three vegetarian options. First was the aloo gobi, which was cauliflower and potatoes cooked in herbs and spices. I finished mine for lunch today, and it was really tasty and somewhat spicy. I knew we wanted to have something with lentils, so we chose the dal tarka, which are yellow lentils cooked in homemade spices. We also had the vegetable malabar which included eggplant cooked in coconut, pepper and curry leaves with mustard seeds.

I was going to try the goat, but at the last minute, opted for lamb. We had lamb pasanda, which included cashew nut paste garnished with almonds and raisens and also lamb rogan josh which included garlic, yogurt cooked in a onion based sauce with spices. We also ordered the garlic naan. We also had a serving of rice with the dinner.

Most of the dishes had a lot of sauce, so it was delicious to soak up the sauce with the naan. The naan was fresh, and very crispy, with the right mix of garlic, salt and other fresh herbs on the top. I am thinking about how I am describing the meal, and I can see that I’m not being that specific, but each item tasted like it was cooked carefully, and for a long time because the flavors were very rich. For dessert we got to try the gulaabjamun, compliments of the owner, Manjit.

I was very happy with all of the dishes we were served. There wasn’t a dud in the bunch. And using the naan to dip up the sauce was really heavenly. We ordered WAY too much food for two people, but we were interested in trying as much food as we could. We also had the mango lassi, which was very good. But it did fill us up a bit too much, and I didn’t drink the rest of mine because I was concentrating on the food.

Manjit, our gracious host explained that he used to have a buffet set up, but he wasn’t able to adjust the spice level for different customers. In addition, traffic wasn’t reliable, so he decided to go to only menu offerings, and then making sure that he spiced the dishes according to what the customer wants. He was careful to make a distinction between western “mild” and Indian “mild.”

The food was great, and the portions are generous. The atmosphere was nice, and the owner was very helpful in describing the dishes and making suggestions. We have already made a date to return!

Thanks everyone for your suggestions, especially RGR. Another winner!

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If you ask nicely they will make you manchurian cauliflower and it’s worth asking for.

Also she makes a nice homemade ice cream.

@heidicooksandbakes, So glad you enjoyed Indian Grill.

@seal, Manchurian cauliflower was one of Hemant Mathur’s signature dishes at Devi and Tulsi in NYC. Devi is now just a catering facility (Hemant left some time ago), and though Hemant is no longer associated with Tulsi, it’s still on the menu there.

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We will ask for the manchurian cauliflower definitely!

Whoaaaaa that place finally folded. Amazing. They’ve been around since at least 2001.

No other options in our area other than Freehold or Middletown. When I do Indian, I want it to be a buffet. I haven’t had a chance to check out Aarzu’s buffet yet, but it’s on my short list.

Shloka also has a buffet but it is no bueno. Might be the only Indian buffet I’ve been to where I would really rather not return to. There’s supposed to be another Indian place in Freehold but I don’t know anything about it.

In Middletown you have Haldi Chowk and Neelam. Haldi is new and has the buzz but I think the buffet tastes a bit better at Neelam. Haldi is clearly less depressing and nicer in every other way though.

There’s supposed to be a new Indian place in Red Bank but I haven’t been.

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I’ve pretty much given up on “local” Indian except for Aarzu. Instead I’ve been trying to increase my Indian cooking skills.

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Paging @BossaNova! He was talking about the buffet at Aarzu during the dim sum party.

We are in the minority but like Neelam. They all know us. We have been going forever. And as a bonus, my girl LOVES the mirrors and naan.

@MsBean - How is this going? Any successes? My Indian cooking lacks depth which I assume comes from the curry/gravy base of most recipes. As the weather gets colder, I start craving this black dal that I had in London a few years ago. I just posted about it on another thread. Here is a link to the recipe. Planning is required with a 24 hour cook time:

I’ve heard good things about Neelam but I’ve never tried it. Living in Freehold it’s the same drive time to Neelam or Edison and there’s always lots of new places to try in Edison. Of course, if it makes the kid happy it’s worth even an extra drive.

@CurlzNJ I would look forward to a Hodown brunch at Aarzu. I would look forward even more to you creating another survey.


Same here, I’ve been going to Neelam since like 2001 I think. Their buffet is consistently delicious and always has a good selection.

I would really like to learn to make dishes that taste like the restaurant versions!!

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Man that butter chicken looks glorious.