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Indian Chef, in Lodi (inside Intl. Food Warehouse)


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I've heard this rumor a couple of times recently that there's a really good Indian Restaurant in the upstairs of Natl. Wholesale Liquidators on 17. Does anybody know anything about this? Is there any juice to it, or are people severly misguided

Nothing says I love you like a homemade salami

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I tried some take out a couple of months ago. It was pretty good, but I don't recall the details. I believe they deliver too.

The best part of the Guiniea Pig? The Cheeks! Definately the cheeks!!

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If Fink says it exists, then it must!! :smile: And Fink, welcome back! How are you doing??

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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I've heard this rumor a couple of times recently that there's a really good Indian Restaurant in the upstairs of Natl. Wholesale Liquidators on 17.  Does anybody know anything about this?  Is there any juice to it, or are people severly misguided

There is? When the heck did this happen?

Where is this in relation to the International Food Mart?

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Price point?  Menu?  Decor?  Takeout delivery radius?  The name of the place, if its seperate from the NWL overall?

We need details people!  :laugh:

I'll check it out one day early this coming week and post. Probably for lunch, if anyone wants to be a co-guinea pig.

Nothing says I love you like a homemade salami

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  • 3 weeks later...

I ate here today. It was fairly tasty and moderately priced. They have filling combos from $5.95-7.95 with two 'main' selections (veg, chicken, lamb), Rice, papadum, mango chutney, and naan. I had lamb rogan josh and a veggie dish that I don't recall the name of, it had potatoes, eggplant, peppers and onions in a mildly spicy thick sauce. I also got an order of pakoras and raita on the side.

The pakoras were excellent as was the naan. The rice was very tasty with a nice nuttiness to it. The lamb was very tender and not dry at all. The vegetable dish was OK, a little dry for my liking. The lamb and the veggies were from a steam table.

So the total for my meal (the #4 combo (Lamb & Veg) the pakoras, the raita, and a can of coke came to $13.50 with tax. The counter service was friendly and prompt and all of the cooking is done in the open. The place was very clean. The menu has a lot of choices I don't usually see like a Dosa Bar with a variety of Indian wraps and a selection of samosas, pancakes, and pakoras that looked good as well as savory donuts called Vada, I gotta try that next time. They also have tandoori by the piece ($2.95 dark), and entrees priced from $6.96 (Indian chicken wings) to $9.95 (tandoori mixed grill or bombay fish) Apps, bread and sides run from $1.50 for Naan to $5.95 for the dosa/wraps I mentioned before.

Overall I would recomend it for an informal Indian meal and I did enjoy it more than some of the local lunch buffets I have been to. I definately look forward to sampling more of the menu

Indian Chef

370 Essex St

Lodi, NJ

Located in The International Food Warehouse (<----Worth going if you've never been)

Mon-Sat 11-10

Sun 11-8

Delivery $20 Minimum

201 587 1087

edited to facilitate readability

Edited by finker99 (log)

The best part of the Guiniea Pig? The Cheeks! Definately the cheeks!!

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I ate here tonight with a few friends. I think Fink is understating things with the "fairly tasty" description. In fact, several items were among the best I've had in years.

The Dosas were just incredible--the shells executed with a light and fluffy touch that it's been eons since I've seen done as well. Particularly impressive was the Spring Vegetable mix Dosa, which was a special not on the normal menu.

There are a variety of Samosas. I tried the Chicken Samosa. I wasn't dissapointed, by any means, but almost anything would have been a let down after those Dosas. If you must pick one... have a Dosa. Every time.

We also had the Vedai, which are fried donuts made with some kind of unusual Indian legume-based flour. They are listed on the menu as "savory donuts" and that's a pretty good description.

The Tandoori items were even better. The Lamb Seekh Kabob was no better than average, but the chicken items were nothing short of miraculous. Tandoori Chicken, in the wrong hands, has a nasty habit of getting dry--especially when white meat is used. Well white meat is used by these folks, but it's juicy as all hell.

An interesting item on the "Tandoori" portion of the menu was the Kasturi Tikka. It's a very herbal kabob, a bit more mysterious than the traditional Chicken Tikka. I didn't ask at the time what herbs were being used, but a simple web search says that fenugreek leaves are common in this dish, although there was certainly more to it than just that. All I can say is that it's unsual, and very very tasty--especially with the juicy preparation common to all of the chicken dishes at this place.

The various chutneys are very good, by the way. The two primary ones served with most items were Tamarind and a Mint-Cilantro, I believe, and the later had a nice but not overpowing kick. The Vedai came with tomato and coconut chutneys, which were excellent examples. Various items also came with a small cup of vegetable curry as a side, which we thought was pretty good.

We didn't really have time, or the appetite, to delve into the other curries on the menu. We had small sample cups which promised great things, but I don't think I want to comment on them based on such a small taste. That will be for next time, and there WILL definitely be a next time, because this place rocks.

A note of warning to those who tend to measure all Indian food by how spicy it is--on that front you may be dissapointed. I wouldn't characterize anything I ate as mild, but by and large the emphasis seems to be on the herbal and not on blowing the top of your head off. Mind you, I occasionally like that to be done to me, but I've learned to appreciate the subtle as well as I've gotten older.

It DOES look to me as if Fink and I made almost completely reverse menu selections on our visits, so perhaps between the two of us we've covered most of it. :raz: This might also explain our different reactions to the place, because I at least tasted small amounts of what he had and I didn't really see them as the highlights of the place.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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We stopped in this evening to check out Indian Chef. The food is as good as everyone above says. We tried a special mixed tandori which consisted of chicken seekh kabab, tandori salmon, and a boneless cornish game hen with a chickpea flour based stuffing. It's amazing what they're putting out in this little take out place.

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My opinion is that on the face of things a place like this might expect to receive comments like:

"Well, it's a good place to go if you are heading to International Food Warehouse/Nat'l Wholesale Liquidators".

The reality of the situation is that the food here is good enough that people should be saying:

"Well, we might as well shop at International Food Warehouse/Nat'l Wholesale Liquidators after we eat at Indian Chef."

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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I like the food at this place too much to keep the news about it to myself.

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The Indian Chef tandoor at work.

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Spring Vegetable Masala Dhosa

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Lamb Kati Rolls

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Mixed Grill

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Vadai made with Urad Dal flour

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Click Here for the complete Indian Chef photo album

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Um, WOW.

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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gallery_2_1200_38100.jpg

This is a great picture, yet even it doesn't do justice to this Dosa. It was an interesting experience seeing the "spring vegetable" treatment with Indian food--the vegetable matter in it was much fresher and more vibrant than you'd see in most typical Indian food.

I've had the Lamb Kati Rolls too, and they kick major ass. They're like perfect little hand-held lamb omelettes. You can get these without eggs, I understand, but I don't really see the point of that.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Unfortunately, now that I'm employed once again I can't get there during the day. My only hope is that they are open on the weekends for dinner or something like that, becaause this is all looking WAY too good to miss.

Nothing says I love you like a homemade salami

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My only hope is that they are open on the weekends for dinner or something like that, becaause this is all looking WAY too good to miss.

Tues-Sat  11-10

Sun  11-8

201 587 1087

(I edited my quote of Fink's post, as they will now be closed on Mondays.)

A couple more comments... The mixed grill that Jason pictured was a special, not the mixed grill on their regular menu. That's salmon, chicken seekh kabab, and the stuffed boneless Cornish hen. Their dosas really kick ass. We've had their regular masala dosa (just with the potato mixture), which is great, but then they do the special ones, like the spring one and it just blows you away. The "spring" part of it is a chopped raw salad which includes lettuce, cabbage, red bell pepper, cauliflower, tomato and more stuff I can't recall. Seriously, we haven't even gotten to the regular curries that are pictured as part of the meal deals.

Confession... I don't generally love Indian food. Jason and Jon usually order things too hot for me, and it is usually very heavy (with ghee?) and I frequently get an upset tummy sometime in the night after having Indian for dinner. We've been there twice and I haven't gotten sick at all, or even tired afterward which also can happen to me. The food (and space) is clean, they use olive oil instead of ghee. Everything is quite seasoned, only they don't overdo it with the chili, so you can taste the food and spices, not just heat. Oh, and the meat is halal, they were emphasizing this on our second visit. I'm really impressed with it. I haven't had tandoori food this perfect since the NYC eGullet dinner at Diwan a couple years ago. Like Jon said, instead of eating there as a byproduct of shopping at International Food, you'll shop at International Food because of the trip you made to eat at Indian Chef.

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Ditto. What she/they said. :laugh:

After seeing those pictures, I just had to try this place sooner rather than later. Since I had a list of errands to run today, I decided to head up Rt. 17 to do them so I could try Indian Chef (note: I usually stay away from 17 on Saturdays). So somewhere around 12:30 today, I had lunch--a dosa with Chicken Keema for the filling. The chicken keema is ground chicken with peas, freshly cut onions and cilantro. It was deeeeeeeeeeeelish. Very fresh, and I loved the sauces/chutney that accompanied the dosa. For those of you who haven't had them, dosas are basically GIANT crepes. When I say giant, I don't think I'm exaggerating (Jason, Rachel, et al, please chime in). Picture a crepe the size of a pizza that gets rolled in to a tube shape--over a foot long, hanging over the plate AND the tray. I remember the first time an ex-b.f. took me to Oak Tree Rd and ordered these for us--I was flabbergasted! But of course, it's just a thin crepe, so even though it's huge, it's not at all tough to finish. :biggrin: The menu says that dosas are served with coconut chutney and sambar. It was also served with a small container of what I think was soup (it did have lg pieces of potato and tomato in it) + the two 'dips'. One dip is dark and thick and had just enough kick to keep me happy without numbing my taste buds, while the chutney was a mint green color and cooler in flavor. Both were yummy, and I managed to polish off the dosa, the filling, and about half of each of the sauces. A few spoonfuls of the soup and I was full. Oh, and I got a chicken seekh kabab and a naan to go, because hey--it could be another 24 hours before I get back there...heehee!

After I paid for my food, I commented to the man at the register that I had seen Jason's photos on line, and that they're stunning. He said that he hadn't seen them yet but would definitely look after hearing that. I think we all owe Chef David a sincere thank you for bringing this place to our attention! Great find.

Edit: Thanks to reading tomorrow's NYT NJ section today (with me?), I see that the 'soup' was sambaR, so I thought I'd correct it. I was going from memory, and these days, that counts for very little! The NYT has an article about a place in N. Brunswick called Dosa Grill, btw.

Edited by Curlz (log)

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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  • 1 month later...

Bumping this thread back up, as I had lunch at IC today with my bro, niece and mom in tow. I wanted to take them for the WOW factor when they saw the dosa, and I wasn't disappointed! :biggrin: We (over)ordered a potato-filled dosa, a lamb seekh kabob, the chicken biryani special, and Mom had a veggie plate of lentils and another dish that I never got to try. The three of them thoroughly enjoyed watching the naan and kabob being made in the tandoor, and of course, the dosa as the batter was spread and spread and spread out on the grill. The owner (I'm assuming) brought us each a sample glass of mango lassi, which is always a refreshing way to end a meal of moderately and well-balanced spices. Everything was fantastic, and both my brother and mom commented that of course only I would know about a place this good in such an unusual location. My answer was that it was only thanks to the crew on eGullet!

We arrived at 1:30 and the restaurant was EMPTY, but the store was also pretty empty; I guess most of northern NJ is down the shore this time of year, but hey--less traffic for us!

Great food at Indian Chef. Go. But not on Mondays--they're closed. :wink:

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been going here since the day they opened and the food is great and the staff are nice and helpful (the men are a bit reserved but nice too once you get to know them!) Even if you are not keen on indian food I suggest trying the butter chicken (for the pro's this is either chicken tikka marsala or chicken makhani and I have recipes if you want!) :wub: and naan it has no curry taste to it and is not spicy and is delicious. I get the lamb and chicken and naan and basmati rice and a coke (combo #?) heh... very delicious stuff.

Also if you want something truly delicious and are near routes 4/17 may I also suggest picking up some food on the way home a taste of greece on kinderkamack in river edge- their food is heaven.

Stacey C-Anonymouze@aol.com

*Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads!-G. B. SHAW

JUST say NO... to CENSORSHIP*!

Also member of LinkedIn, Erexchange and DonRockwell.

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