Samudhra (Franklin Park, New Jersey)

The first, second, third and fifty-fifth thing you need to know about Samudhra, an Indian restaurant in Franklin Park, New Jersey, is that they have a very strict dress code. This may well be the only thing you need to know about them; it is almost certainly the only thing you will remember about them. It’ll pop up as the first thing you see when you go to their website. You’ll be told about it when you call to make a reservation. When you arrive, you’ll see it posted prominently on the window of their foyer. When you go in, you’ll see it posted inside the foyer as well. And just in case you haven’t gotten the message, you’ll see it again before you’re walked to your table. “A lot of people have tried to come and eat here in pajamas and chappals or what?”, I asked the host; he smiled embarrassedly and then launched into a saga of how they’ve had to call the police on inappropriately dressed people. My friend and I looked dubiously at him and he petered off. Thankfully, there are no further reminders inside the restaurant. Continue reading


Kathiyawadi Kitchen (Sayreville, New Jersey)

I was recently in New York and New Jersey for a few days. I was there primarily for a few academic events connected to South Asian cinema, but also took the opportunity to meet up with some old friends. As half my commitments were in the New Brunswick area, I stayed in a hotel across the street from Newark Penn Station. I took the New Jersey transit train down to New Brunswick on both days in the mornings and then took it back up to New York Penn in the early evenings for my events/meetings there. My lunches therefore were in the vicinity of New Brunswick, and my dinners were in Manhattan. Now, of course, I was looking forward to eating a couple of good meals in New York, but, truth be told, I was more excited about the lunches in New Jersey. This because the friends I was eating with had picked out Indian restaurants for us to go eat thalis in. Here’s an account of that first meal, at Kathiyawadi Kitchen in Sayreville. Spoiler alert: It was rather excellent! And I say this as a confirmed carnivore even though it’s a vegetarian restaurant. Continue reading