On Robert Sietsema’s recommendation, T. and I made the trip to Jersey City for a meal at Udupi Shri Krishna Palace. While waiting for Gabe, who was overjoyed we were visiting his neighborhood, we walked the glittery length of Newark Avenue, ducking into shops to watch small crowds of customers order sev puri and samosas. I promised myself that if I saw anyone frying up a fresh batch of golden jalebis, I would buy some and spoil my dinner. Sadly, no such luck- I guess Jersey City is not the equivalent of Edison.
Udupi Shri Krishna Palace is a tiny, boxy space, more a take out stop than a restaurant, with florescent lights glaring down on the uncomfortable clutter of benches, tables, and the dusty water cooler in the corner. We sat underneath a protruding heater, our grimy corner illuminated by the lights, and served ourselves water using the plastic cups stacked on the cooler.
We ordered ragda pattis, fried potatoes cutlets doused in chutney, chickpeas, and in this instance, spoonfuls of crunchy sev instead of onions. The chutneys were spicy and sweet and soaked through the savory pattis for bites that were properly sensational, bites of India in Jersey City.
We also ordered pav bhaji. It’s not really my style to order Bombay specialties or North Indian snacks from a South Indian restaurant, but I’m a sucker for ragda pattis and T. wanted to try the pav bhaji, which was unexceptional.
Gabe and I shared this Mysore Masala Dosa with Cheese. The South Indian restaurants I’ve visited in New York never seem to have the “with cheese” option that’s fairly standard at S. Indian restaurants in Bombay, so I was excited to see it in J.C. But I think the cheese they used- mozzarella- was too stringy and gooey. Gabe said our dosa was like Indian pizza. The potato subji, cooked with popped mustard seeds, was fresh and tasty, but the dosa itself was thicker than is standard and the”mysore masala” which is synonymous for “extremely spicy,” didn’t make me sweat.
T. ordered a South Indian style meat dish. Upon rereading Sietsema’s review, I realized he focused on the meat at Udupi Shri Krishna Palace because most South Indian restaurants in the area are strictly vegetarian, so USKP’s offerings were unusual, and as T. confirmed, quite good.
This last dosa was appalling. In addition to their South Indian menu and meat menu, USKP also has a Chinese-Indian menu. From there I ordered a “Spring Dosa,” typically a dosa tightly wrapped around onions, peppers and sometimes noodles sauteed in a light garlicky sauce. This atrocity contained peas, potatoes, and various other vegetables cooked in tomato sauce that lacked any semblance of Chinese flavors, and instead resembled a bland and boring mixed vegetable subji. An unfortunate and unappetizing misnomer of a dish.
I wouldn’t exactly recommend Udupi Shri Krishna Palace, but if you want to go, it’s at 789 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ.