backstrEATS at a glance:
1677 State Route 27
Edison, NJ 08817 Tel: (732) 248-1888
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11a.m.-10p.m., Closed on Mondays
Atmosphere and Attire: There’s not much atmosphere in this small restaurant. But don’t let that phase you! The food can sell itself. Whether you’re coming home from work or spending a lazy weekend in your sweats, it’s all good.
Seating: Takeout and delivery only! Although there is a nice lumpy couch to sit on when you wait for your food.
Cost: Moderately cheap. Appetizers are on average $4.50-$5.00. Entrees: $8-9. Portion sizes are generous and can easily feed two. But who would want to share?
Coke products: Yes! I believe they are canned though.
Notable things around it: Not far from Rutgers (The Cook campus in New Brunswick) and the new Edison H Mart for all your Asian grocery shopping needs.
Important Notes: $15 credit minimum. FREE DELIVERY $20 MIN UP TO 5 MILES $35 MIN UP TO 10 MILES
Moving to a new state is daunting. Yes. I am well aware that the aforementioned statement is obvious. But after uprooting my life so many times as a child, I would think that I would be somewhat used to it. Wrong. How could you be when your daily routines are no longer on auto pilot? You have to find a new grocery store, a new route to your new job, a new place to accidently run into Michael Bublé (Still waiting for that to happen, folks), etc. Although I enjoy new food experiences, I also like having familiar places that claim me as a regular. So the search was on to find my new favorite spots in my new city. It was 9:00 pm in October (Specific, right?), I was craving Indian food like crazy. Cursing myself for never being able to crave Indian food during normal business hours, I desperately searched for anything online. Right as I was debating on making the 50 minute train ride to Manhattan, I found my own personal Eden: Delhi Garden.
** Disclaimer: Since it is a takeout/delivery only place, I only have pictures of the restaurant. I felt like it would be rude to the food if I snapped them in plastic containers or in my very cheap IKEA bowls. I’ll add pictures if I find some good ones.****
Moving to a new state may be daunting but pales in comparison to moving to a new country. Satyan Sethi, the owner of Delhi Garden, uprooted his life and moved to the United States in 1998. Having acquired extensive restaurant experience in several states, he opened Delhi Garden in January of 2007. The restaurant is mainly run by the Sethi family. Mr Sethi runs the financial aspect of the business while his father runs the kitchen. Mrs. Sethi works the front with customers. It’s quite nice to see the same faces when you wander in for chicken korma at 9:00 pm. When I asked Mr. Sethi on what inspired him to open DH he replied that food has always been a passion of his and that he wanted to share great Indian food with his community. There is a high population of Indians in the Edison area making it an ideal location. I also inquired whether Mr. Sethi had any plans on expanding the restaurant into a sit down. He said that when they initially started they wanted to keep the focus on takeout/delivery. But since the business is growing, they were thinking about having a more formal sit down restaurant perhaps somewhere in Highland Park. They also do catering events for businesses, religious ceremonies, and celebrations. About 30% of their business is dedicated to catering events. And boy, can they do it on a grand scale! Just this past July, they served over 2000 people for a special ceremony!
I asked Mr. Sethi what he personally enjoys from his kitchen and he recommends: lamb rogan josh, chicken tikka masala, saag paneer, and bagare baigan. There you go folks! Straight from the owner’s mouth.
It wasn’t easy to find Delhi Garden for the first time despite it being right on route 27, one of the main roads in Edison. (And despite them having not one but two signs out by the street…) Tucked away in a mini cluster of shops, Delhi Garden is next to a nail salon and a group of Korean businesses. It is definitely easier to spot at night with the open neon sign and the twinkle lights that the owners added for the holiday season. Though the parking appears sparse up by the front, there are a few more spots in the back.
The surrounding area is growing and developing with a new strip mall only a couple blocks up which houses the new Asian grocery store, H Mart, an “all you can eat” Korean BBQ buffet, a Korean Soft Tofu restaurant and a new Korean spa. Lucky for my cravings, DH is super close to me and I have fast become a regular.
The Ambiance and the Service:
Though the inside is modest at best, it’s quite comforting at the same time. There is an old sofa and 2 white plastic chairs for sitting, a plastic table that holds the ready to-go orders, a countertop for Mr. or Mrs. Sethi to take your order, and the TV that usually shows a cricket game or an Indian drama. It’s just plain and simple. Who needs decor? No frills. Just simply delicious food.
I’ve grown fond of this small environment as I form a relationship with Delhi Garden. Especially during these cold winter days, it’s comforting to come into the store where Indian aromas embrace your senses and melt away the cold. Mr. and Mrs. Sethi have always been so kind when I stumble in from a long day of work. Always remembering that I love my food spicy and that chicken korma is my staple. I have also experienced new things to my liking through their suggestions and for that I am very grateful!
Let’s start with my personal favorite, chicken korma. Mmmm… A lovely orange cream- colored curry with an almond sauce base and big tender pieces of boneless chicken. The word Korma is derived from the Hindi and Urdu words for “braised” which is the main cooking technique for this dish. Dating back as far as the 16th century, Korma can be traced to the Mughal incursions into present day Northern India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. This Indian staple makes my heart full and warm. I absolutely love the sauce. Even after I devour all the chicken… the sauce mixed with rice makes another hearty meal for another day.
For the vegetarians, I recommend the Aloo Gobhi, a dry mixture of potatoes, cauliflower, and spices. How such simplicity in ingredients bring out the fullest flavor, I am unable to say. It makes a great accompaniment to chicken korma! Also, try the Dahl Makhani, described as being ”…creamed lentils delicately cooked overnight on low heat finished with butter, garnished with cream with herbs.” Now, I was a bit hesitant to try this dish as a non lentil-enthusiast… but it completely blew me away! The lentils were not mushy as I thought they would be but possessed a lovely balance of firm and tender in its texture. And let’s face it… that curry sauce is D-E-A- LICIOUS!
I also recommend the vegetable samosa, aloo tikki with chole, and chana amritsari.
For dessert, their Gulab Jamuns are by far the best I have ever had. Like the American doughnut hole, gulab jamun is a dough traditionally consisting of many milk solids rolled into a ball and then deep fried. It is then bathed in a sugar syrup flavored with cardamom seeds and rosewater, kewra, or saffron. Can’t go wrong there, folks. Its texture that is slightly spongy soggy may put some people off but I think the overall taste is phenomenal. I love that they are always warm when I buy them from Delhi Garden, which I have found is not a given with some Indian restaurants that I have encountered.
My Indian food cravings always fall on a Monday, the one day that DH is closed. A few weeks ago, I asked playfully to Mr. Sethi why he chose Monday to close and leave me scratching and crying at their empty store. He smiled and replied, “We have to give our cook at least one day of rest!” To which I replied… “Does he really need rest?” HA! Many of us who have worked in food service know… one of the slowest days for restaurants are Mondays hence the reason to close shop. It doesn’t stop me from cruising past the store slowly on a Monday evening after work hoping the open neon sign is on. Delhi Garden has become my go to for quick, inexpensive but utterly DELICIOUS Indian food. Edison is feeling a lot more like home now with my growing knowledge of the area. Food experience win.
May your Christmas/Holidays be the best and merriest! Until then, EaT ON!~ <3Tags: cheap, Chicken Korma, Curry, Delhi Garden, Delivery, Edison, food, Indian food, Indian restaurants, New Jersey, Rutgers, Samosas, Satyan Sethi, Takeout