Mauka Indian Rt. 35 Eatontown, NJ

For those who might be familiar with this location it is formally The Cobblestone Diner / Olive & Ivy and maybe something else in-between. Wife and I decided to give it a try on Saturday night showed up at 5:45 without a reservation and was seated at a nice two top.

Service was very nice and friendly however towards the end of the meal as the restaurant filled up, with line in the lobby and pick up to go orders flying out the door, it seems as if word is out about the place.

Let me say right now; I am not a big Indian cuisine expert, I have very limited experiences as such, I place Aarzu as the epitome of my personal Indian experience, so that’s what I’m comparing this to.
With that as the scale I’m using I will say it is close to Aarzu but not quite as good as Aarzu, but not by much.

( I don’t know the names of what we ordered, and I don’t want to butcher the language so I’m going to just call it as I saw it )

Naan - with raisins, craisins, cashews and almonds, sooooooo good. You could have served that warm with ice cream on it rather than as a appetizer as we had it.

We also had some stuffed potato patty with lentils on top, not sure what it was called but it was very good.

Entree:
I had a lamb shank which I do not see on their online menu. It was very good, but I would prefer the one from The Greek Spot more because I like the orzo vs. the rice. lol The spice was fine, I was told this was an “American Hot” however I would call it a medium in heat.

My wife had some kind of curd / tofu thing in a green sauce. The sauce was a puree of spinach and broccoli rabe’ which was FANTASTIC. Again, they had prepared us for some spice, but I found the dish to be almost mild.

As the night went on, the restaurant was full and service began to slack a bit, but the owner came over to clear out table. (I apologize in advance if this is inappropriate to say, but I mean NOTHING by it) When the owner came over and addressed us I was taken back by two things.
1.) For a person of Asian/Indian descent he has the most striking blue eyes, really stood out in contrast to his naturally tanned skin.
2.) His absolute American dialog and speech. lol In my ignorant narrow-minded impression I was shocked when he addressed the table and out of his mouth came Phil Donahue. LOL

The owner / host is a very nice and observant guy, I’m sure he needed our table to clear it and hopefully offer us the check. We stymied his attempt by ordering a desert and having him pick it out. He sent us an orange sherbet type desert in an orange rind. I’ve seen this served before with lemon ice, but never orange, it was a pleasant dessert.

All in all, a pretty good meal that I would definitely go back again for. Not as nice a dining room or overall experience as Aarzu in my opinion, but that’s a pretty high standard, this place could rise to it. I’ll be back and report when I am.

I did see another esteemed HO there; I will let them report for themselves their experience.

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I am SO in need of Indian food, and you’re not helping! Looks/sounds delicious; I can’t wait to try it! That said, I know you’re not an expert on Indian food, but you should know that nothing compares to Aarzu - it’s an upscale Indian restaurant, and few others exist in NJ that I’m aware of, so it seems unfair to try, but I’m a fangirl, as you know. :slight_smile:

That naan is def interesting, and it sounds like your potato-filled app might have been a samosa. That chaat (?) w the chickpeas looks good, as does EVERYTHING else, and now I’m starving.

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A. we were right there, but opted for Pho 99 as we wanted something quick. Could have been 2 esteemed HOs and a lesser HO in the same building.
B. Was this not the site of the famous meat challenge? Some Greek or Turkish joint?

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Pho. 99 is pretty darn good too! It’s become one of my favorite casual places, especially this time of year. Yes, this was the site of the Mixed Grill Challenge! Not sure what incarnation of names it was during that time, but this was it!!

@CurlzNJ Exactly, I know Aarzu is hard to compete with, that’s why I like to preface my comments with that, even though Aarzu is the exception to the rule, this place isn’t that far behind in my opinion.

(even more so now that Bombay River is leaving Int. Bites)

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NotJR, pleasure running into you and your wife at Mauka. The last time I was in that building you consumed a mixed grill platter for two by yourself … quite an impressive feat. I trust you regaled your lovely wife with stories of your heroics! Our visit on Saturday evening with another couple was about as mixed as that mixed grill. We ran into numerous service and kitchen issues (the place was packed when we arrived), but we were with good friends, had booze and made the best of it. My knowledge of Indian cuisine is even less than your own so my opinion of the food should probably be afforded little weight, but mostly everything I tasted was quite good. Our starters included vegetable samosa, garlic naan, a fried shrimp small plate dish and pani poori (described on the menu as a standout Indian street food; this was the only dud of the night). Mains included my lamb vindaloo ordered “American spicy” which was not particularly spicy and next time I will order a spicier version. It was very good with pieces of potato and jeera rice. Other mains were lamb saagwala (in a green sauce), a chicken curry (don’t recall which), and chicken chops which were chicken pieces served on a sizzling fajita like platter with sliced peppers and onions. By the time we finished our mains, we had been there for more than 2 hours with the miscues and passed on dessert. I enjoyed what I ate well enough that I’m willing to return, but probably not on a Saturday night. By the way NotJR, I think there’s a mixed grill on the Mauka menu. Just sayin’.

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We went to Mauka back in December but I decided not to write a review at that time. They had only been open about 2 weeks and you could tell. There were some service missteps but the staff meant well and I thought with more time things would likely get better. The food was good but I found the menu lacking. Many of our favorite dishes weren’t on it but we were told they were still fine tuning some of the dishes and planned on adding several others.

We did try to make a reservation a couple of weeks ago but nothing was available a week in advance. I’m not sure if that is a testament to the food or recognition that there really isn’t much in the way of Indian food in mid-to-south Monmouth county. We definitely plan to give Mauka a second chance as it much closer than our favorite “traditional” Indian place.

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Yes, we got there right in time because as the restaurant got fuller, the service noticeably slowed down. That’s why Aarzu is still a better restaurant / dining experience, but this place does seem (in my opinion) to be a pretty decent option if they get their sh*t together.

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Very reasonable prices. Definitely going to try this place. It’s a shame no one tried the lamb chops!

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That billboard right next to it is pretty funny.

YES! Noticed it as we were leaving.

Somebody is smitten!!

Had a tasty meal at Mauka tonight and will definitely return to try out other dishes.
Ordered the Mixed Grill, Lamb Maas, Bang Bang Shrimp, Roti and Naan.
Looked the waiter in the eye and asked for spicy and was rewarded with some good heat on Shrimp and Lamb. Lamb had real rich, flavorful tomato based sauce.
Mixed Grill came with Salmon, Lamb Chops, Shrimp, Chicken and Sausage served on a sizzling plate. There were vegetables mixed with the meat and if I got this again I would ask them to separate the two.
Shrimp good, crunchy with tasty sauce.



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Wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our return trip here. Ok, a few established facts:
1.) We all know I’m an uncouth idiot
2.) I love my East Asian / Indian friends and do not mean in any way insult you. This is a me thing NOT you.

Ok now that I got that out of the way - the dinner was very enjoyable! Again Indian food isn’t really my thing but thanks to Seal and Aarzu I became a big fan.

The bread/naaan? we ordered was rosemary which cheese and was very enjoyable, think focaccia flavored naan.

I had the lamb briani? Which I asked for “American hot” because I know in that culture their “hot” is another level. (That’s literally how I ordered it - hope that’s not offensive lol) The dish was delicious with big soft chunks of lamb and the heat was tolerable to a point, lol All of a sudden about half way through I started to notice my internal temperature started to rise.
I figured ahhhhhhh I can take so I scooped some onto my naan, next few bites were covered in the delicious sauce from some signature chicken dish, which was delicious.

At this point I had one or two more bite’s covered in yogurt? Sauce and I threw in the towel! Lol

My wife’s chicken was stuffed with something and it was all very good. Service much better and doing a decent business on a Thursday night.

Might not be as good as Arzu but it’s pretty darn good by it’s own standards.

ETA
Hahahaha so apparently I uploaded a pic of my favorite cologne I took to send my daughter to pick me up one off. So if you want to smell like your buddy notjr Givency Pi is for you!

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You had me at Lamb Biryani! Seriously - if they’re getting their act together service-wise, this is good news, as I’ve yet to hear anyone complain about the food.

Imo Aarzu is in a class by itself; you really can’t compare ‘regular’ Indian restaurants to theirs. Still looking forward to getting to Mauka soon!

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Hello friends, hope this finds you all doing well.

I just wanted to drop a note here to give a well deserved update. Admittedly my overall experience with Indian cuisine I think I’ve been rather spoiled. Initially I was introduced to:
Masala around Rt 9 in Manalapan,
Then Aarzu Freehold (thanks to good ole @seal )
Now Mauka Eatontown.

That is also now how I would rate these fine Indian restaurants.
Yes, call me spoiled but let me say I NEVER thought I could appreciate anything better than Aarzu I LOVE Mauka and can say more so than Aarzu. There are the reasons for this:
1.) Price Point, let’s be honest Aarzu is NO bargain anymore (especially BYO)
2.) Unfortunately my last experience at Aarzu (this summer) I had a particularly badly prepared meal.
3.) A 5 minute vs 20+ - ride Freehold Parking etc.

Aarzu does still have an excellent vibe / dining room, not that Mauka doesn’t, but I’m a booth guy. Always enjoyed a booth and much easier to speak of nefarious deeds without people hearing. :wink:

Just wanted to share this because I do appreciate the job and product they are putting out and I’ve started to “meet the family of owners” which I truly love and respect. When you grow up like that, as I have as well, that’s where the term:
“It’s in our blood”.

From my grandmothers lap and kitchen, to my father’s dishwasher-salad station - mini host- line cook - Easter Bunny- AND a life long passion and pursuit of hi-jinks in the hospitality field - I LOVE AND RESPECT family owners / operators of restaurants.

New endeavors await my friends; I shall be updating / reporting progress over the holidays. Time to have some FUN with in home DinnErtainment Events!!!

( yes I said Easter Bunny - when your boss /dad says get in the Bunny Costume when you’re 10 years old; what do you do?
You get in the f’n bunny suit!!! Look; Mrs. Easter Bunny is 42 years old smelled like Virginia Slims and Scotch with 4 baby bunnies at home. Yes, pretty sure those are bunny nipples !! Years later I found out the “real Easter bunny - some guy - didn’t show for the gig - ahhhh memories )



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Had reservations Saturday night for 7pm 4pp. We arrived about 15-20min early for our reservation and the place was packed, standing room only in the foyer, I sought refuge in the party room, which was being set up for a party. Our table was ready by about 7:20 and the service and food were fantastic as always. Also, by the time we left at 9:00pm-ish, there was still a wait to get in.

When we hear stories like those of Sickles, it’s good to hear that some places are also truly thriving in these challenging times.

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