Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 41
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

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It’s New to Us by Jean Stratton

DINING OUT: “We are set apart by the fresh ingredients and our unique attention to all the ingredients. Everything is cooked fresh, customized to the individual diner, and we have special family recipes.” Chef Dilbagh Kabow and owner P.J. Singh of Cross Culture, the new Indian restaurant in the Princeton Shopping Center, look forward to welcoming customers to a new dining experience.

Cross Culture Ethnic Indian Restaurant Opens in the Princeton Shopping Center

The customer said, “There are so many choices of dishes — how do we decide?” Replied P.J. Singh, owner of Cross Culture Indian Restaurant, “You will just have to come back again and again!”

There is every sign that customers are doing just that.

The new restaurant opened in the Princeton Shopping Center August 12, and there have already been repeat customers.

“This is very encouraging,” reports Mr. Singh. “We have already had a lot of different customers even in this small amount of time. There has been great word-of-mouth. One satisfied customer gives you 10 more satisfied customers. And it is a real mix of people all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities.”

“Many people in Princeton are aware of different cuisines. There are lots of international people and many people have traveled. We really wanted to be in Princeton.”

Mr. Singh, who has a degree in restaurant management, owns another Cross Culture restaurant in Doylestown, Pa., and he has grown up in the restaurant business. “My family has been in the restaurant business for 30 years, and they have several restaurants in the area. My uncle is a renowned chef. We have very healthy eating. Indian food is very good for you, including the spice turmeric, which we use in our recipes.”

Unhurried Dining

Cross Culture is open seven days for lunch, dinner, take-out, and catering. Its focus is “northern western frontier cuisine,” explains Mr. Singh. “We have tried to give an aroma of all the spices. Another focus is that everything is cooked fresh and is customized to the individual diner.”

The unique aroma of Indian cooking tempts customers as they step into the attractive restaurant. The handsome setting, with traditional handpainted Indian art, burgundy and curry decor, fresh linens, and dark wood tables invites unhurried dining.

80 customers can be accommodated, and there is a nice feeling of space with no sense of crowding. All the traditional favorites of Indian cuisine are offered, such as appetizers, soups (including the always popular Mulligatawny), special breads, accompaniments, such as daal, chutney, and papdam; the Tandoori specialties, which are cooked in the unique clay tandoor oven), and choices of chicken, lamb, and seafood entrees.

Popular appetizers include chicken tikka, fish tandoori (chunks of fresh salmon, marinated in herbs and spices, broiled in the tandoor), and the tandoori mixed grill (a combination of tandoori chicken, chicken tikka, malai kabab, boti kabab, shrimp tandoori, and fish tikka.

Sizzling Platter

“It’s a sampling of the tandoori items, and served on a sizzling platter,” says Mr. Singh.

Vegetarian appetizers are also popular, and there is a big variety, including assorted pakora (fresh vegetables dipped in delicately spiced batter and fried). A large selection of vegetarian entrees is also available.

Other favorite entrees include chicken tikka masala, chicken makhani, chicken curry, and chicken vindaloo. Lamb is a specialty of Indian cuisine, and there are many choices, including lamb curry, lamb korma, lamb saagwala (with fresh spinach), and lamb Rogan Josh.

Among seafood dishes, fish and shrimp curry, shrimp tikka masala, and fish or shrimp vindaloo are favorites. Also very popular are the biryanis — the long-grained basmati rice dishes cooked with chicken, lamb, shrimp, or vegetables, and special herbs.

Everyone loves the variety of enticing Indian breads, such as naan, puri, and paratha. There is also a Bread Basket, containing a combination of three house favorites: naan, onion kulcha, and puri.

A special feature of Cross Culture is its “Executive Lunch.” Unlike some other Indian restaurants, the lunch is served, and is not a buffet. “Choices of dishes are served with assorted pakora, basmati rice, and daal makhani, and naan bread,” says Mr. Singh. “There is a vegetable, chicken, lamb, seafood, and tandoori special. Starting at $9, these are very popular.”

Special Teas

Other prices include appetizers from $4.95 and entrees from $12.95.

Desserts range from kulfi, the Indian ice cream to other Indian specialties, such as mango d’ fengo, gulab jamun, and rasmalai.

Cross Culture also has a selection of special teas, including masala iced tea as well as the popular lassi yogurt Indian-type smoothies.

Customers are welcome to bring a beverage of their choice, such as wine or beer, and the restaurant provides set-ups.

Mr. Singh hopes to see the catering service grow along with the restaurant, and he points out that all sizes and types of events can be accommodated. For special parties in the restaurant, Cross Culture offers a long table, seating 12 to 13, in addition to the other tables.

He is very pleased with the Shopping Center location and the reception from the other merchants as well as from the public.

“A restaurant is a destination business. People want to go out for good food,” he points out. “We are working very hard to satisfy our customers, and we are learning and improving all the time. I especially enjoy talking to our customers and helping to educate them about our food, and also getting their input.

“My goal is that when people think of Indian food, I want them to think of Cross Culture. And we want people to know we’re here to stay!’

Cross Culture is open seven days, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Executive Lunches are from 11:30 to 3. Reservations are recommended. (609) 688-9400.

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