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Authentic Kashmiri Cuisine in West Caldwell


jsibley
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I finally got a chance to try Wazwan, in West Caldwell (691 Bloomfield Ave) today.

I wouldn't expect authentic Indian cuisine in West Caldwell, but this is where a Kashmiri couple decided to open their restaurant (they already owned the space).

The owners are quite nice, and happy to talk about their food. I tasted the following (they were nice enough to give me some small tastes of dishes that I hadn't ordered):

Kabar Gah (Fried tender pieces of goat ribs garnished with spices)

Marchwangan-Korma (Tender pieces of goat cooked with tamarind and hot red pepper Kashmiri sauce)

Rogan Josh (Succulent pieces of lamb cooked in Kashmiri spice, red pepper sauce)

Koakur (Tender pieces of chicken cooked with an assortment of kashmiri spices)

Mixed Fresh Fruit Juice

Kahwa Mugal-Chai (Kashmiri Green Tea flavored with cinnamon, cardamom, and almonds)

The goat ribs were quite tender and fried until the spices on them were nicely browned). They are a bit boney (small bones), but if that doesn't bother you, they were quite tasty (nice taste of cinnamon, among other flavors)

The goat with tamarind and hot red pepper sauce (most dishes can be made with either goat or lamb) was very tasty, but the goat was not tender. The chef said that it is supposed to be chewy, but I found it a bit too much so. The taste was quite nice, though, although a bit on the fiery side.

The Rogan Josh was really good. It is served in some other restaurants, but the chef said that "true" Rogan Josh is Kashmiri and is not prepared the way other restaurants prepare it.

The chicken was also really good, and the sauce seemed a bit milder and richer than the other two sauces.

The fruit juices are made fresh, and mine was a combination of watermelon, blueberry, and some other fruits.

The spiced tea was also a nice change, and a nice way to end the meal.

I forgot to check on the hours, but I believe they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, now, and may only serve dinner on Sundays (Lunch and Dinner the other days they are open). Their phone number is 973 226-3132.

This is a restaurant that would probably fit better in Montclair, but apparently many of their customers come from Montclair (they are only 4 miles from Montclair). They are near Passaic Avenue, so it looks like one could get their via 280, 80, or 46, as well.

So, if you want to try something a little different, here you are. I don't think you'll find a lot of other Kashmiri restaurants around.

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I will go back, yes. If I wasn't clear, I thought the food was not only different, but quite good (other than the chewiness of the second goat dish, which may be an acquired taste).

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Wazwan does a lot of take-out, and it's popular with West Essex's significant South Asian population. It's not unusual to see people with six or seven items. They pack meals for the Gazebo concerts (Thursday evenings) in Crane Park, too.

Based on my visits every two or three weeks, it's unusual to see people actually dining there. Occasionally, but not often.

Good food, I think I posted on the place a while back. Meats are pretty good across the board, some of the vegetables may be, for me, an acquired taste.

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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  • 1 year later...

Ellen Simon reviewed this establishment in her debut column reviewing food for the county edition of the Ledger.

Liked the food, but found the service disorganized, overwhelmed, and completely unresponsive. It was recently reviewed (somewhere other than the Ledger) and they were unable to handle even the modest number of diners. Lots of "you're next" and "we'll get to you" action. She received her apps before people who had ordered earlier, and got her entrees before others received the apps. Haphazard, and suggests no kitchen discipline.

She was candid that the huge lapses in service made it difficult to recommend the place right now, but felt it would be fine in four to six weeks. That's fair.

It's a family restaurant, they cook for each guest individually. I've never been there and observed more than 2 or 3 other tables, and there's still a 15 or 20 minute wait as they prepare each meal. With 40 or 50 people, it could stretch into tomorrow.

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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I've had a $50 gift certificate for this place sitting in my desk for over a year! Maybe it's finally time I used it. Won it in a raffle of some sort.

Something about the thought of goat though...hmm. I'm not normally so squeemish, but it doesn't sound like a good animal to eat.

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I've had a $50 gift certificate for this place sitting in my desk for over a year!  Maybe it's finally time I used it.  Won it in a raffle of some sort.

Something about the thought of goat though...hmm.  I'm not normally so squeemish, but it doesn't sound like a good animal to eat.

I'd be careful there, Rob. In any other forum, anti-goat comments might not cause a lot of waves. But not between these hallowed cyberwalls. Goat is highly revered in these parts.

And welcome to the forum.

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