You may think you have to head into the city to find a restaurant that actually transports you to the many states of India, but with Monsun Fine Indian Cuisine in River Edge, your taste buds can travel from Delhi to Hyderabad in one delectable meal.
New to the restaurant scene, Monsun opened in September 2017, two years after owner, Rekha Karnik, sold her IT business of 20 years. Karnik had dreamed about recreating the flavors, aromas, and sites of her home country and once she found the perfect location, she called upon her relatives to help make her dream a reality. From her son, to her uncles, aunts, and cousins, everyone who works with her is not only a relative, but also fantastic in the kitchen, working in restaurants from New York City to Philadelphia for the past 10 years.
“Monsun is a re-creation of the rainy season in India,” said Karnik who notes that it’s her favorite part of the year there and has decorated the restaurant with murals and plenty of greenery. “Growing up in Bombay, rainy season represented life, prosperity, and serenity, especially in the rainforests of Mahabaleshwar. I wanted to bring that feeling, along with the food, to where I live now.”
Monsun’s Menu Features Indian Specialties for Everyone to Enjoy
Catering to all different regions of India, Monsun has an extensive menu filled with authentic dishes made using only the freshest ingredients, fresh produce, and Halal meats. Ranging from savory Bombay dishes to Northern and Southern specialties, as well as Indo-Chinese dishes like noodles and the ever popular, Manchurian and dumplings, you can stick with what you know or find a new favorite dish.
Popular dishes include Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb Chops, and Karnik’s mother’s recipe of patties filled with minced chicken or lamb, coated in potato, and soaked in egg and breadcrumbs. Then there’s the specialties from the Tandoor, a traditional clay oven that adds tons of flavor to everything from vegetables (try it in the Vegetarian Mixed Sizzler) to fresh salmon, chicken, paneer cheese, and even the many flavors of Naan including their special Peshawari naan that includes raisins, cashews, and dates.
Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, omnivore, or even gluten-free, there’s a dish that will turn your senses on, in a very, very good way. Vegetarians will delight in the Vegetable Dum Biryani, a Monsun signature, Uttappas, a specialty pancake from South India, and an array of Dosas, crispy crepes made from lentils and rice and served with a side of chutney and sambar, a lentil curry.
Omnivores can look no further than any of their Halal meat dishes, from the Lamb Curry to the spicy Goat Vindaloo, it’s impossible to choose a favorite. As for pescatarians, they’ll dive right into the Tandoor Prawns, a very popular dish featuring jumbo shrimp. There’s also the weekly special of Monsun’s Chaupati, a popular Bombay street food fair, that must be visited!
As for those with a sweet tooth, don’t miss out on the Custard Apple Malai as well as the Mango Moose and the Mango Guava Flute – we would go so far as to say you might want to order one of each, for yourself.
“If you’re looking to get the full Monsun experience, our buffet lunch (Tuesday – Sunday) is the perfect way to try everything,” said Karnik. “Take note that on Saturday and Sunday, the buffet is elaborate, so it’s definitely worth a visit (or a few!)”
Turns out, Monson Fine Indian Cuisine is the perfect place to stop in for lunch, dinner (especially on live music Wednesdays every other week), as your next take out (online ordering makes it super easy!), or even as the host for your next party, from birthdays to baby showers, graduations, or really any special event, Monsun Banquet hall, which is scheduled to open by Christmas 2017 and is located right below Monsun Cuisine, will hold up to 150 of your family and friends.
It’s time for you to fall in love with India’s rainy season and cuisine, right here in New Jersey.