Bombay West at 832 Washington St. in Hoboken is situated in a quieter section of the busy avenue. While you will see people walking on the sidewalk, it is never as loud as the more congested downtown area. This gives their outdoor café a feeling of privacy, which is great for dates.
The restaurant itself has elegant simplicity with dark red walls, light yellow accents, and white linen tablecloths. The overhead amber lights cast a pleasing gold light on the water glasses that line every table. There are a few well-chosen ornaments for the walls: a mirror, a few plants, and red glass candles for the tables. Nothing to distract from the main display, which is the food that is served in copper dishes.
What do Tandoor and Tandoori mean?
Tandoor is the clay oven that the bread or meats are cooked in. The oven is run on charcoal and is extremely hot. Breads such as naan that are cooked in the tandoor, are slapped onto the clay sides. The bread rises in minutes because of the temperature. Tandooris, or grilled meats, are called that because of the way the meat is cooked. It is placed on skewers and placed in the middle of the tandoor oven until grilled. This process produces tender juicy meat that has been marinated in spices and herbs for hours. The grilling process brings out all the delicate flavors of the marinade.
For starters, we were brought pappadam, the light thin cracker that is served with mint chutney and onion relish. This appetizer is brought to all the tables. This salty treat is addictive.
We started with the Aloo Chat, which is a dish of potatoes and chickpeas that is flavored with yogurt and chutney. It is a large portion, big enough for two to share. For those that don't like dishes too spicy, this is relatively mild, yet flavorful.
Next we tried the Bombay Crab Cake, which is slightly spicy, yet easily recognizable for those who want to sample a flavor they know. The outside of the cake was crispy and didn't overwhelm the delicate flavor of the crab.
For dinner we tried the Nargisi Kofta, which is minced vegetables shaped into balls and cooked in delicious sauce that is flavored with curry. This vegetable dish is deceiving. The balls almost taste like they are flavored with meat. All the entrees come with basmati rice, which is a perfect compliment to the rich sauces.
Sauces and bread
Most Indian cuisine has rich sauces, which are meant to scooped up with bread that is traditionally served with the meal, not as an appetizer. We had the Naan, plain baked bread, and Kabuli Naan, bread stuffed with ground nuts. If you are a fan of fresh, hot bread then you must try at least two different kinds. They are all unique and delicious. Just be careful not to fill up on so much bread and sauce that you forget to eat your entrée.
Then we had the Kashmiri Roganjosh, which is lamb cooked in sour cream, almonds and hot spices. This dish is spicy and the tender lamb melts in your mouth.
We couldn't leave without trying one of the specialties of the house, which is the Tandoori Murg, or half spring chicken that is marinated for at least seven hours in yogurt, spices and fresh herbs, then cooked in the Tandoor oven. The chicken is bright red on the outside and white on the inside. The meat is so tender it falls off the bone and requires no additional seasoning.
The extensive menu has chicken, lamb, goat, seafood and vegetable dishes. Appetizers include steamed mussels in garlic, onions and tomatoes ($8.50); Bombay fried shrimp ($8.50); a kabob sampler ($9) and more. Soups include: spicy shrimp and chicken soup ($7); spicy lentil soup that is garnished with chicken ($5); tomato soup ($5); and mushroom, shrimp and spinach soup ($7.50).
Salads include: Chembur green salad ($5.50); Katchumbar salad ($4) and more. Paneer, which is Indian cheese, is served in aromatic sauces with vegetables all for ($10). The entrees of lamb, chicken, goat, seafood and vegetable are prepared in a variety of sauces to suit every palate. The dinners start at ($10).
For dessert, we sampled the Kheer, rice pudding, which is garnished with dried fruit and the Gajar Halwa, Indian carrot pudding. The rice pudding was perfectly sweet and quickly finished by my companion. The carrot pudding had a slightly salty finish, which was refreshing when paired with the sugary taste of the rice pudding.
The restaurant is non-smoking. They offer specialty fruit and yogurt drinks plus soda, coffee, tea, iced tea, juice or lemonade. It is BYOB if you want something stronger. They have a menu listing of beers and wines that are available for delivery to your table.
Any item on the menu can be ordered for delivery or for pick up and daily lunch and dinner specials are available. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and closes weekdays at 10 p.m., 11 p.m. on weekends, and 10 p.m. on Sundays. On Monday they are open for dinner only from 5 to 10 p.m. Reservations are recommended for large parties.
Bombay West is located at 832 Washington Street, in Hoboken. All major credit cards are accepted. Call (201) 653-0011 for more information.