Why, oh, why do New Jersey Indian restaurants treat Indian customers so cavalierly?
Are our dollars different from that of other people’s?
Chaska Indian Cuisine
826 Newark Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07306
When I stepped into Chaska on Newark Ave, the young waiter glared at me as if I was the Bollywood villain responsible for interrupting the hero’s coitus with his doe-eyed inamorata.
What an unwelcome attitude!
Never mind, I consoled myself. My people (Indians) are still at the bottom rung on the evolution ladder of good graces.
It was lunch hour and so I opted for the buffet.
The buffet was an average spread, neither lavish nor a measly affair.
Chaska Dining Hall
There were the standard appetizers – Vegetable Pakoras and Aloo Tikki.
Barely warm, and nothing to write home about.
So I quickly moved on to the Tandoori Chicken.
Again, the same ghastly pink nightmare I’ve encountered so many times with so much distaste.
With little flavor to it, Tandoori Chicken was, alas, another mishap.
It’s a rare Indian restaurant that delivers an acceptable Tandoori Chicken these days.
I waited for the Naan bread.
And waited. And waited! And waited.
Although the restaurant was starved of customers, the sole waiter around was moving hither and thither doing what only the good Lord knows.
Finally, I summoned the courage to hail him and plead for my Naan.
Again, that sullen malicious glare.
Why so much angst, I wondered.
A death in the family? Jilted at the altar? Green Card delay?
Ten minutes later, my Naan appeared.
Naan bread was all right but considering the wait I expected more but got less.
Chicken Curry had so little spice in it that it was clearly an instance of mislabeling.
During my visit, there were two Paneer items on the buffet station – Paneer Bhurjee and Spinach Paneer.
Paneer Bhurjee was forgettable.
But Spinach Paneer was a treat to my taste-starved palate.
Perfectly spiced, well seasoned and piping hot, it was a treat with both Naan and rice.
Hot and sour soup was another welcome respite from the generally mediocre fare I encountered at Chaska.
Whatever ingredients went into the soup, I’m sure they’re what the Gods feast upon when they’re not tormenting Earthlings.
Tangy and spicy, it was a jolly treat that lifted my spirits.
Rice pudding and custards were a travesty.
It requires special talent to mess up Rice Pudding.
But Chaska managed to mess it up by delivering a below par dish with none of the flavor characteristic of this commonplace Indian dessert.
Chaska Indian Rating
Its mostly mediocre food and pathetic service makes Chaska an affront to paying diners.
It’ll be a long time before I return to Chaska.