Mar
08

Palace of Asia, Lawrenceville, NJ

When it comes to Indian restaurants, actually any restaurant, but especially Indian restaurants I am pretty tough to please. Suggesting a new Indian restaurant to visit, or worse going there with me is typically asking for trouble. It’s not that I’m just difficult (be quiet Kedar), ok maybe I am, but the bulk of Indian restaurants in NJ are just plain awful. They have no business serving food they claim is Indian. I would guess that the bulk of the so called chefs at these restaurants wouldn’t be allowed to cook at home by their wives (yes most of them are men).

But once in a while (a long while) you come across a restaurant that surprises you. Turns out that Palace of Asia did. I went with relatively low expectations, but I had viewed their website and checked out their menu and gallery and was just hoping. I really liked the way they described the food, in a somewhat sophisticated manner, different from your run of the mill Indian place. BTW, Kedar had recommended it, but who really listens to him?

The restaurant is off Quakerbridge Road, close to the mall. It’s located in a non descript strip mall, where else? When you actually walk through the front door, it looks way bigger than you would expect from the outside. It made me think of Dr. Who, the campy British sci-fi show that’s been going on for more years then I care to remember. If you know the show, you’ll know what I talking about – Dr. Who’s time machine, Tardis looked like a small phone booth but was disproportionately large inside – just like Palace of Asia. The decor is also much nicer than your average Indian. The question is whether the food is?

A bunch of us from work went for the lunch buffet. After my review of the last place, Ganges, I’m surprised I was invited. The buffet at $11 was pretty extensive. A few appetizers, 3 or 4 meat items and a similar number of vegetarian plus 2 desserts. Generally, the food had the right amount and blend of spices. In less expert hands, the food can be overwhelmed by chili or garam masala, not so here. Even the tandoori chicken was flavorful. Typically it’s a bland, dry piece of chicken that has been doused with food color, making it look toxic. But the chicken here actually had flavor. Pretty much everything I tried was good. The navrattan korma and dal had a creaminess that is usually missing. Both very good. Even the desserts weren’t excessively sweet by Indian standards.

Overall I would give this place a 6.5-7 out of 10. I’ve had better, but this is a surprising gem in an area that has way too many Indian restaurants, most of which are just plain bad. I think I need to give Kedar more credit.

3 Responses to “Palace of Asia, Lawrenceville, NJ”

  1. Hey Immy…do you have the equivalent of a Lahore Kebab house over your side of pond?

    Site still great by the way…are you sure your weight description on the front page is still correct?

    Bishop

  2. Hey Dave, I have been looking but just haven’t found anything close. There is a place in NY – Curry Leaf that is half decent, but not quite Lahore. They were thinking about opening up a NY location but they decided against it.

    I probably should change the the description.

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