Oak Tree Rd
Divine Curry Hillsborough NJ Review
378 South Branch Road
Hillsborough, NJ 08844
Other New Jersey Indian Restaurants
Divine Curry Hillsborough NJ: Sparse BlessingsTucked away in 378 South Branch Road, Kingsbridge Center, Hillsborough, NJ is Divine Curry.
The location is not very close to a major highway, so diners really cannot stumble upon this place. If someone has to seek and find this place there must be a strong reason to do so - the food better be good.
The restaurant has been highlighting that they are under new management in the local coupon magazines.
Under the previous management, the place was rock bottom in terms of taste and food quality. So we decided to check out the handiwork of new management on a nippy fall afternoon.
We were met at the door by a Sardar (turban wearing Sikh) who seated us at a table.
His dour and sullen demeanor left us wondering how much it costs him to smile and greet diners. It appears that the place is run by this guy and his wife who wait on tables, refill the buffet trays and handle the checks.
The new management apparently did not change the decor or seating.
No, there wasn't anything wrong with the decor previously, just that the food was an abomination.
BuffetWe opted for the lunch buffet priced at $10.95.
Lunch Buffet Station
SaladThe salad section had all the customary Indian buffet stuff - lettuce, cucumber and tomato slices. Plus the usual condiments - Green Chutney, Tamarind Chutney, mixed vegetable pickles and sweet mango pickles.
Also, laid out on large tray was a Green string bean salad - String beans and kidney beans mixed up. This inedible green bean salad monstrosity was composed of ingredients that tasted like it came out of a can.
We weren't surprised when we overheard a middle schooler sitting at a nearby table grumble that his school lunch program had better green bean salad.
Drained seemingly from a can and spread on a tray, the bozo who came up with this recipe shouldn't be in the food service business.
Chole Bature, Naan BreadThe Chole Bature station was decent fare, primarily because fresh Bature was being brought in from the kitchen. The texture of the Bature was excellent, soft, warm and fluffy.
Naan was also served at the table, like the Bature it was fresh with the right puff and not too chewy.
Tandoori Chicken, PakodasSpeaking of appetizers, omnipresent Red Tandoori chicken, Onion Pakodas and Samosas were on offer.
Tandoori Chicken was a ghastly affair, most likely was smeared with some mystery red paste and tossed on a grill.
Leathery and flavorless with a chemical aftertaste, even roadkill tossed on a flame would have tasted better.
Tandoori Chicken, Samosa, Pakodas
The Onion Pakodas were cold, slightly soggy and bit elastic, maybe they were camped in the tray since the previous night like a desi in a 1 A.M Black Friday line at Best Buy.
The Samosas - let me save a few keystrokes and not write about it.
We hoped that the main entrees would redeem themselves after the appetizer letdown.
EntreesIt was Chicken Vindaloo and Chicken Tikka Masala for the hunters, Shahi Korma, Palak Paneer, Malai Kofta, Dal Makhani for the grass grazers.
ChickenClose your eyes and visualize this for a second, chicken-cubes-in-a-thick- slightly tangy-flavorless-viscous-liquid-cooked-eons ago-and-reheated-1000 times-found-in-Indian restaurants-all-across-North America open your eyes, viola - it's Chicken Tikka Masala.
Chicken Vindaloo (bottom), Chicken Tikka Masala (right),
Shahi Korma (left)
When the founding fathers mentioned 'general welfare' in the constitutional preamble they should have put in a special clause to handle 'brown men in nondescript restaurants unleashing chicken bits floating in a mystery concoction called Chicken Tikka Masala' upon the general populace.
We overheard a Caucasian diner tell his son that Vindaloo Chicken is a spicy Indian chicken preparation.
He couldn't have been referring to the Vindaloo Chicken that was on offer at Divine Curry. It tasted like this Chicken Vindaloo had not been within a two mile radius of any spices. Maybe they could palm this off as Chicken Vindaloo to uninitiate, effete palates, but wouldn't cut the mustard with us. Verdict - Vindaloo Chicken - 2 thumbs down.
Veg. CurriesShahi vegetable Korma - the name certainly sounds royal. But there was nothing royal about this dish. The gravy was delicious but the paucity of vegetables enervated the dish.
With a farmer's market located just down the road, getting a few fresh veggies and not tossing 'em into a freshly prepared sauce is just crazy. It could have made a world of difference to the Shahi Korma.
The Palak Paneer was a greenish goop with a few chunks of cottage cheese and tasted like ground up cardboard. We could have put the Palak Paneer to good use in our Halloween arrangements.
Malai Kofta was slightly above-average. The kofta's had some body and the gravy was rich. No complaints here. We give it a B- rating.
Malai Kofta, Dal Makhani and Palak Paneer
Dal Makhani was a little redemption. We got lucky and hit a freshly prepared batch it appeared. Had some flavor in it and went well with the Bature.
Jeera rice was ok and it passed our quality test, which is - no dehydrated hard grains. Usually found when the rice tray sits on sterno for too long.
DessertsWe turned out attention to desserts next, Suji halwa and Rice pudding.
Suji halwa was a delight to savor. Made with brown suji not cloyingly sweet or rich, tasted just right.
Suji Halwa and Rice Pudding
The rice pudding (Kheer) was pleasant, again not overdone on the sweet or cream. Adding a few roasted nuts for garnishing could have elevated the kheer.
Biased ServicePlates were cleared immediately and water glasses were refilled promptly. We like that.
Couldn't help notice the special bend over backwards service to folks at two nearby tables. It did not elude us that folks at those tables were Punjabi. We do not like that. Really don't. Nobody does. That alone is reason enough not to go back in there.
Divine Curry Hillsborough RatingNet Net, we found a few flashes of peripheral luminance in the Bature, Dal Makhani and Suji Halwa.
But given the overall mediocrity of the main courses we are not going back again.
If the current quality of food trajectory continues, we wouldn't be surprised to see the latest crop of owners go the way of the previous owners....south that is. - - © Sagar.com