Oak Tree Rd
Harini Lawrenceville NJ
Harini Indian Cuisine3349 Brunswick Pike (Rt 1 South)
# 66 Mercer Mall
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
Harini Lawrenceville NJ Review: Average Food, Decent ServiceHarini located in Mercer Mall on Rt 1 South in Lawrenceville NJ offers a combination of North Indian and South Indian curries, sweets and Andhra Pickles.
We are no strangers to Harini.
We've tried Harini's Gongura, Chicken Pickle and South Indian sweets like Athirasam or Ariselu, Ravva Laddu, Badusha and Boondi Laddu in the past.
While Gongura Pickle remained tasty for over a month, Chicken pickle developed fungus within a week's time and we had to throw it away. Also, we did not find the South Indian sweets very fresh.
All that was in the past.
We wanted to give Harini's food a second try.
So the other day while driving on Rt 1 South we stopped by Harini. Going by our past experience we did not buy any of its Andhra Pickles or South Indian Sweets. Instead, we focused on the lunch offerings.
Like most Indian restaurants in New Jersey, Harini offers all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for $8.99 during weekdays.
Being cheapo desis, we naturally gravitated toward the lunch buffet.
When we entered Harini around 1:15 p.m. on a recent week-day, the restaurant was empty (two Caucasian diners came after us). We were greeted by a middle-aged man (owner??) and told to sit anywhere we wished.
The middle-aged waiter poured water into glasses and explained the different items on the lunch buffet and informed us about the availability of Masala Chai as part of buffet.
Chutney/Pickle StandChutney/Pickle stand included Coconut, Toor Dal Chutney, Green Chutney, Tamarind Sauce and Dry Mango Pickle a.k.a Magai.
Chutneys were all at room temperature suggesting that they are prepared fresh rather than the refrigerated stuff served at most Indian restaurants.
Fresh Chutneys with Tasty
Onion Pakora & Hard Idli
Creamy Palak (bottom left), Bad Veg
Biryani (bottom right) & Channa Masala
Coconut Chutney, Toor Dal Chutney, Green Chutney were all flavorful though we would've preferred the Coconut Chutney to be a tad spicier.
While we liked all the Chutneys, what gave us immense joy was the Andhra Dry Mango Pickle Magai. It was sour and tangy and warmed our Telugu cockles.
We greatly enjoyed eating the Magai pickle, mixing it with a little plain rice.
Appetizers included Onion Pakora and Idli.
Idli and Onion Pakora were both cold.
While Onion Pakora was tasty we did not relish Idli as its texture was hard. Even dipping the Idli in the medium-thick onion-green squash Sambar did not help much.
Entrees - Mixed BagEntrees included Palak Paneer, Baby Corn Masala, Dal Makhani, Alu Fry, Channa Masala, Tandoori Chicken and Chicken Curry.
Palak Paneer was creamy and flavorful.
Alu Fry was alright though we would have liked it more had it been a little more crisp.
While Baby Corn Masala and Dal Makhani were slightly sour, Channa Masala turned out to be a flavorless, tasteless brown monstrosity.
Sour Baby Corn Masala (R) & Dal Makhani (L)
Ok Tandoori Chicken (top), Chicken Curry
Naan (L), Horrid Chicken Biryani (bottom)
Tandoori Chicken was reasonably well marinated and tasted quite Okayish.
Chicken Curry was spicy as masala seeped well into the chicken pieces and was much relished with Nan Bread.
Horrible Rice Dishes and Good Naan BreadThe rice items were awful.
Be it Vegetable Biryani, Chicken Biryani or Plain Rice, they should not have been placed in front of paying customers. The rice granules in all three Rice items were dry and hard and not worth serving to animals leave alone paying customers.
The texture of the rice was so horrible and tasted as if they were left in the refrigerator without any lid and reheated in a microwave.
Only an Indian chutiya would serve paying customers such horrible rice.
Mercifully, Naan Bread was soft and tasty. We substituted the bread for horrible rice items.
Fine Masala Chai and Delicious Rice PuddingMasala Chai was in a flask.
Yet, it did not have the ugly flask smell! It was hot with right proportion of milk, water and spices.
Harini's Masala Chai was so refreshing that we took a second helping.
Heavenly Rice Pudding
Rice Pudding was a close competitor to Masala Chai in fine flavor and taste.
With a nice Cardamom flavor, Harini's Rice Pudding was delicious and worthy of being served to the very Gods.
No Service SnafusUsually, a visit to an Indian restaurant leaves you fuming and disappointed on the service front.
More so if you happen to be a desi customer since most Indian restaurants in New Jersey treat desis with contempt.
Mercifully, Harini is different where the treatment of desis is concerned, if you go by our experience. Our middle-aged waiter was polite, friendly, promptly removed the used plates and filled the water glasses. Hey, our waiter even explained the day's lunch offerings.
Silverware and napkins were kept right next to the dining plates and we could use fresh spoons with each of our visits to the buffet station. Dining plates and chutney cups, sambar and dessert bowls were all clean.
Harini Lawrenceville - RatingBarring the unpleasant experience with rice dishes and sour Dal Makhani and Baby Corn Masala, we'd consider revisiting Harini for its creamy Palak Paneer, fine Masala Chai, Naan Bread, delicious Chicken items and, more than anything, the heavenly Rice Pudding.© sagar.com
Other Lawrenceville area Indian RestaurantsPersis Biryani Hamilton - Spicy Biryani, Decent Food, Rotten Service
Myilai Masala Hamilton - OK Indian Vegetarian Food