A funny thing about the holiday season is that I inevitably end up taking off some random days from work (so I don’t let my vacation time go to waste) without any specific plans, so I get to try some lunchtime-only places, like American Masala in Jersey City. So far, this place is only open for lunch and happy hour, so I stopped by for lunch recently. Yes, I know the chef/owner, Suvir Saran — I’ve mentioned him before in my blog. But he didn’t know I was coming, he didn’t pay for my meal, and I don’t think he was there that day. So for a change, this is an objective review, and a very positive one at that.
First, a request — Suvir, can you open for dinner now? The style of the place is really hip, like almost nothing else in Jersey City. Lots of windows and light. At least for lunch, you order at a counter and then your food is walked over to your table. The prices are very good for what you get — inventive, impeccable Indian food, quite different than the (very yummy) Indian food across town in Jersey City’s awesome Newark Street Indian district. The gorgeous chaat in the top photo is a must-try.
Besides the burgers, the menu appears to vary daily. It’s a great spot for vegetarians. I can’t recall exactly what this curry of the day was called, but was obviously made with peas and paneer (cheese), and it was light and fresh, not cream laden like a lot of popular Indian places do (but don’t necessarily tell).
This was a pork schnitzel. I’ve never seen anything like it at an Indian restaurant before. But it was fried just right, and the side dishes were really good, especially that mash. So you’re probably getting the idea — Suvir likes to innovate. Trust me, Jersey City really knows its Indian food, but American Masala is something else entirely. The only downside is that it’s located over in the city’s financial district, far from the downtown Grove Street strip where the locals hang out, which probably explains the unusual lunch-time hours.