Just tried this pretty new (opened in the last month) restaurant going through Hackensack, and was QUITE pleasantly surprised. It's called Dhaaba (pron. "dahaba") and is at 258 Main street, 201-678-1500.
why was it good? The main reasons? A: it's new, so they are indeed trying hard--but I went on the 2nd week it was open and they were already attracting regulars.
B: their menu is a little different than your normal Indian--the owners are throwing in some elements from their home regions of India (Calcutta and Delhi) that aren't usually offered. The real winner were their Calcutta Kati Rolls--these are the Indian equivalent to fajitas--Indian spiced, grilled veg. and sometimes egg and meat put in a flat bread that has a lot of layers and is kind of a cross between a very thick flour tortilla and some kind of burmese flatbread. The kind of food everyone likes, & here they cooked it perfectly.
Also they have some more unusual offerings like a fish appetizer that's small fillets marinated in ginger juice (!) and then deep fried, w/lemon. Amazing grilled vegetables. I didn't get the same sense about their food I've gotten from other indian restaurants--nothing was overcooked or tasted like it had been stewing/sitting for a long time.
Their Gajar Halwa--carrot pudding--was the best I've ever had--almost caramelized and dark brown, the dairy's so absorbed into the carrot so much it doesn't even taste creamy any more, just rich. Their rice pudding was also lovely.
I know I'm glowing about it but it's the rare restaurant I get to share, and I've gotten so much out of everyone else's opinions here, i'm happy to be able to give back. Now I want to know what others think....
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