Sunday, January 27, 2013

Indian restaurant charges $10 for bread

A whole fish cooked in a tandori oven ($22), above, and shrimp in a coconut-flavored curry ($16), below, are two of the dishes served at Kinara Cuisine of India in Edgewater.

Even though we ate out at an Asian Indian restaurant a week earlier, I was looking forward on Saturday evening to trying the buffet at Kinara in Edgewater.

But I was misinformed or misunderstood the acquaintance who told me about the $10.95 buffet, which is available only during lunch, not dinner.

We entered the restaurant from the parking lot and walked through one dining room to get to the other, which is off River Road.

The room has a bar, pressed-tin ceiling and stained-glass accents that seem to have been left over from another ethnic restaurant.

The River Road dining room.

One reason I wanted to go to Kinara is the Saturday buffet with goat meat, which other members of my family love.  

We ordered from the a la carte menu:

Three entrees -- fish, shrimp and goat on the bone -- a side dish of spinach and chickpeas, and two mango lassis (yogurt-based drinks).

The owner took our order and asked if we wanted four kinds of Indian bread, but didn't say if the basket was extra. 

While we waited for the food, we ate complimentary crackers called papadam with chutneys on the table, but the wait was so long -- about 25 to 30 minutes -- we asked for a second basket. 

Another service glitch was not keeping our water glasses filled.

Free papadam.

$10 basket of bread.

We loved the food -- a whole, moist bronzini; shrimp in a spicy, coconut-flavored curry; goat in a multi-spice masala sauce; spinach and chickpeas cooked down into a luscious blend;  and complimentary rice -- and were stuffed. 

But when I got the bill, the bread basket was listed at $10. Our bill for four with tax, but not tip, came to $81.27.

Western restaurants serve free bread, and when I ate bread with meals, I enjoyed some extraordinary, crusty pieces with olives, onion or dried fruit.

Why do Indian restaurants charge for bread? We took home most of the bread from Kinara.

I also noticed that the two Indian restaurants we tried -- Kinara and Dimple's Bombay Talk in Edison -- add melted butter to bread or dosas.

Do Asian Indians add butter when preparing their spice-filled food?  It would be nice to know, so I can request no butter.

Goat Masala ($14.95)

Kinara Cuisine of India, 880 River Road, 
Edgewater; 201-313-0555. BYO, free parking in lot.

Web site: Where bread costs bread


  1. Good Information. Thank you for sharing and I want to share information about Tandoori Chef2 which is An authentic North Indian, fine dining restaurant, Tandoori Chef offers Maplewood and the surrounding area a wonderful taste of Indian cuisine.

  2. A lot of Indian cuisine uses ghee (clarified butter). I don't know how restaurants do it, but from watching my Indian relatives cook, they use ghee like other cooks use oil -- saute the onions, garlic, ginger at the start of the cooking process with ghee instead of -- let's say -- vegetable oil.

    Just from my experience comparing home-cooked Indian meals to meals prepared at an Indian restaurant, I think they use cream to help cut the spicy kick. So, if your dish is rather spicy and doesn't have a creaminess to the sauce, the dish probably features less cream (or coconut milk). Ghee has a distinct smell/flavor. It's hard to describe. You probably should ask when ordering that you don't want any ghee or butter used. I don't know how they would do it during a buffet, though.

    New Bombay Grill in Teaneck on Cedar Lane has spicy Indian dishes. I don't think they use a lot of cream or coconut milk there.


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