Matt and Meera, the Indian American restaurant on central Washington Street in Hoboken, doesn’t use curry in any of its Indian dishes. While the spice is traditional in some Indian food, Matt and Meera wants to be original – and you’ll find a range of sweet and rich tastes to replace the standards.
“It’s much different than the other Indian restaurants around,” chef Hari Nayaki said about the two-year-old establishment on a recent Tuesday evening. “We call it an American café with an Indian twist.”
Indian food always offers a wealth of different tastes, but in most restaurants, you can’t always get twists such as naan pizza, or lamb chops so tender a toddler could eat them. At Matt and Meera, you can.
The restaurant is airy, decorated with wooden tables and a wooden rack on the side. A host of interesting specials are posted on a blackboard outside each day.
Who are Matt and Meera?
A friend and I stopped by and sat down with Nayaki to chat.
“It’s been good,” he said of business. “It’s much different from the other Indian restaurants around.”
In fact, the owners recently started a barbecue restaurant in New York City.
So who are Meera and Matt? The owner of the restaurant is Praful Nikam and manager is Vineet Kapoor, so the names didn’t come from them.
“It’s a concept,” Nayaki said. “It’s the marriage of American and Indian.”
Appetizers and small entrees
The menu has a variety of unique appetizers and entrees. Appetizers range from potato and pea samosas ($6) to crispy pawns ($8) and tikka masala kebab ($6).
There’s a great variety of appetizers, including sandwiches and burgers, such as a lamb burger ($9); various naan pizzas ranging from grilled mushroom to butter chicken ($8-$9) and salads, with or without meat and shrimp ($6-$8).
They also serve kati rolls, which are Indian street style wraps ($6-$8). They include marsala potato, vegetable and paneer, crispy shrimp, chicken tikka, and lamb kebab.
Then, there are the dosas, which are crepes. All are served with coconut chutney and tomato chutney. From egg and cheese to lam kheema, they range from $6-$8.
The biggest list are the grilled meals – all cooked in a tandoori oven (which can get as hot as 1,000 degrees) and served with saffron rice, salad, and raita.
Grilled meals range from mint paneer tikka (cheese and peppers marinated yogurt and spices), $12, to fish tikka (salmon cooked with spices), to Cornish hen ($12/half $18/whole) to jumbo prawns marinated in yogurt ($16).
What we ate
We started out with a popular dish, the naan-chos, a Matt and Meera special ($7). With crispy chips, marsala cheese, chutney, and mango salsa, the small plate had a pleasing presentation and, with contrasting flavors, tasted delicious. You can add meat and avocado. My friend and I polished it off quickly.
The restaurant also touts its breads, so we had to try one. We enjoyed a warm, round mint bread called paratha. It was doughy but flat, with a slight mint taste, and helped us enjoy the various sauces presented.
I loved our naan pizza, the chicken and chili. It was cheesy, filling, and a delight.
The main courses were what really wowed us. We had two, straight from the tandoori oven: sea bass, and fennel lamb chops.
I had never had lamb chops that soft – a baby could eat them. Nayaki said they were so tender because of the heat of the tandoori oven. With the spices and sides, the fennel lamb chops ($15) are marinated in fennel, nutmeg, cinnamon, and Indian spices.
Like the other dishes, the sea bass was excellently presented and included a nice portion, along with tasty sides.
Beverages and dessert
Nayaki offered us their fresh ginger soda to wash down our meal. It came in a mason jar and was the perfect refresher, light and sweet. They also offer a homemade mixed berry shake and mango lassi ($4), as well as coffee, chai, and bottled drinks.
Desserts range from a chocolate semifreddo with hazelnuts, espresso brulee, and pistachio & chocolate crunch ($6).
The restaurant offers brunch on weekends, including standard brunch eats like huevas rancheros ($10) and items from their regular menu.
They also offer delivery, catering, and events.
Matt and Meera is located at 618 Washington St. Call (201) 683-9431 or (201) 942-9942 and check out mattandmeera.com.