Know what’s awesome? When you no longer have to schlep all the way into Tribeca for your Indian food fix because the restaurant you love has decided to open a second location in Bergen County. Know what’s even more awesome? The fact that this happened recently. Benares, the well-loved Indian restaurant and Tribeca mainstay know for a creative, knowledgeable chef who produces delicious, inventive dishes from a wide variety of Indian food influences, just opened in the Boulder Run Shopping Center in Wyckoff.
The cuisine in India is vastly different from region to region. At Benares, tribute is paid to both the food from the Eastern areas of India that is influenced by China to Southern Indian food with its abundance of chilies. But special emphasis is placed on the cuisine of the Western State of UP (Utter Pradesh) where the city of Benares is located.
On a recent visit to the new Benares restaurant, service was friendly and the servers made well-informed recommendations. One dish suggestion that is not to be missed is the Eggplant Chaat appetizer. Who knew that thinly sliced, fried eggplant slices drizzled with sweet and sour chutneys and sprinkled with cilantro could be so delicious? Also a must have? The Adraki samosas, triangular turnovers (think empanadas) filled with potatoes and peas flavored with mango, ginger and cumin and served with a mint and tamarind chutney.
Don’t be intimidated by the length of the menu. It’s broken up into sections for carnivores, vegetarians and vegans and then splits the meat sections further by type. Sides and tandoori options are clearly marked and each dish is meticulously described. Please be advised that reading the menu will cause your mouth to water.
Entrees are also offered with varying degrees of heat, mild, medium or hot. Medium is still pretty fierce so unless you are a true spice warrior, you might want to start on the milder side. You’ll also be glad to know that portion sizes are large so bring your appetite or be ready to split a dish with your dining companion(s). Favorite entrees included the Cheema Thenga, marinated jumbo prawns grilled and then simmered in coconut milk curry and the Andhra Chicken Curry, cooked in coconut, ginger and garlic sauce. Pro Tip: Definitely give yourself the gift of gluten and try the naan. It’s the perfect blend of soft and chewy but also crispy and savory. Favorite flavors include the garlic and the rosemary. But they also offer paratha, roti, poori and kulcha. Which pretty much sounds like Nirvana, doesn’t it?
We’re pretty sure we’ve made you hungry by now so we’ll excuse you if you need to go place an order. Or, visit Benares and enjoy the authentic, fresh, zen environment. Just remember that if you dine in, the restaurant is BYOB.
Benares 2051, 327 Franklin Ave., Wyckoff 201.904.2222