Matt & Meera, American-Indian restaurant in Hoboken, NJ | I just want to eat!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Matt & Meera, American-Indian restaurant in Hoboken, NJ

I have discovered this little gem in Hoboken that replaced Kati Roll a month ago: Matt & Meera. At first, we were not sure what we would get there as the name did not really indicate anything in particular. I was not even sure it would be a restaurant! 

We went a first time and it was so good that we came back! The first time, I was lucky to meet one of the owners Chef Hari Nayak who wrote several cookbooks. He told me that the idea was to put together American and Indian cuisine, bring Indian spices and twist to American classics. In fact, the name itself is made of a common name in the US (Matt) and a common name in India (Meera): these people do not exist and only represent the fusion the Chef wanted to create.

I like the place: simple and warm with its bricks and wood.

They have a communal table in the middle of the dining room and a large shelf full of sauces you can purchase. I bought their Habanero mustard and really like it!

The service is fast and courteous. At first, I thought it was a fast food, because you order at the counter, but in fact, they will bring the food at the table, in plates, like in any restaurant. They also pay attention to the presentation as I hope my photos will show!  The nice and sometimes playful plating gives another dimension to this place that you could not have guessed considering the prices displayed on their menu! At the time of this post, the most expensive item on the menu, the soft shell crab sandwich is $9! For sure, not all the items are full plates as the principle is to share, but still!

Looking at the menu, you will definitely recognize some authentic Indian specialties, such as the samosas:
Samosas are crispy turnover filled with this time either potatoes, vegetables or meat. We decided to try these three fillings, but you can pick which one you want. They are served with a tomato mustard chutney.
The potato and the vegetables samosa were delicious, packed with spices! As the vegetables are cut in small pieces and not pureed, you get a different flavor at each bite.
The meat samosa was amazing! The meat was definitely lamb and it was also packed with spices that reminded me of kefta that are meatballs you find in Oriental cuisine. 
This with the delicious tomato mustard chutney was awesome! I also appreciated the fact that the samosas were crispy and not greasy at all! The shell was perfectly cooked and not doughy.

Then we tried the Meera's Chicken TikkaMasala  kebab:
I love chicken Tikka Masala! So I was thrilled to try this! The chicken is pan seared and dipped in tikka masala sauce. It was a bit tough to remove the chicken from the skewer and the sauce was missing some depth. It was just ok for me.

Then we got their most ordered item: the "Naan" Chos.
This is the perfect example of the fusion between American and Indian cuisine. The chips are made of naan and there is some melted masala cheese all over it, with a scoop of cream cheese, some chutneys and some guacamole (for sure the guacamole was not fresh). I thought it was a great idea! The naan chips were crispy and their dryness was complemented by the melted cheese, sour cream and guacamole. The dish had a nice little kick! Overall a great idea.

The second time we went, we ordered again the samosa and I decided to try the lamb burger.
I thought it would be a smaller size burger, but in fact it was pretty big! It came in a metal bucket that gave a nice touch to the presentation. The bread was a soft toasted brioche bread and there was some lettuce, tomato and red onion with the lamb patty.
I asked for the burger to be cooked medium and it came at the perfect temperature! The meat was juicy and very tasty. With the lamb, they put the same spices that gave that particular taste to the meat samosa. There was no need to add any cheese, ketchup or mayo. It was incredibly good!

For one more dollar, we added some homemade crispy masala chips that were the perfect side to the burger.

Jodi ordered one kati roll:
It is like a wrap made with a thin bread that I believe was a roti. She picked the tofu roll. It was pretty tasty and there was a nice eggy taste thanks to the omelet they laid on the roti before rolling it.   

The third time we went, we decided to try more classic dishes to see how the Indian influence translated to.
First were Matt's calamari.
They are crispy calamari served with a mustard tomato chutney. This was delicious: the calamari were perfectly cooked, meaning that they were not rubbery; it was crispy and not greasy with a hint of spices that slowly builds up in the back of your mouth, but is still not strong.

For the spiciness, I went for the grilled chicken wings.
These are red chili wings cooked in a tandoor. If you like spicy, this is definitely for you! Although my mouth was on fire, I loved it! Very tasty. The spiciness hits you right away and the only way to diffuse it is to dip the wings in the sauce they serve it with. Not sure what is was made of, but I certainely could taste some pepper.

The last dish was their naan pizza.
The pizza looked very appetizing and was fantastic! You can even try to make it at home after buying naan bread at the supermarket. Yes, the dough is replaced by some naan bread that is very thin and becomes crispy during the cooking process. They do not put any tomato sauce, just cheese and the different ingredients. I did not really care for the spinach and did not taste the mint at all. However, the flavor of the mushroom and pepper gave some freshness to it. Both were blended with the cheese (I hate when mushrooms are added at the end). Overall very good!

Each times, we got some fantastic dishes at Matt & Meera and we will sure go back there! My only regret is that they do not serve sweet lassi that I love and have no desserts. They do serve mango lassi and a cucumber cooler that I have tried and was delish, but they cannot replace a good sweet lassi! They told me that they will soon start proposing a dinner menu. I will for sure try it!!!

Enjoy (I did)!
Matt and Meera on Urbanspoon

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