Indian Food Restaurants to remind students of summer

Devon Braunstein ('10)/Eastside Community Editor

The time for exotic vacations may come to a close as the summer ends and the school year begins.  However, that doesn’t have to stop anyone in Cherry Hill from enjoying an exotic Indian food feast all year round. 

Coriander Indian Bistro, a restaurant located in the Ritz shopping center in Voorhees, creates the exotic Indian ambience as soon as a hungry customer walks through the door.   Stepping into Coriander and immediately noticing the strong curry scent, one cannot be surprised that Coriander holds the Critics Choice 2008 award for

“Best Indian Restaurant” in New Jersey, as well as the Courier Post’s 2008 ” Reader’s Choice” award for Best Indian Restaurant.  Plus, Coriander earned the “Best of the Best” award in 2007 from South Jersey Magazine.

The colorful splashes of red and yellow on the walls act as a backdrop to the cultural pieces of art hanging up throughout the front room of the restaurant, visible as customers enter Coriander.  One might compare walking through the Indian bistro to walking through the crowded streets of India, not only because of the popularity of the restaurant, but because of the traditional Indian music playing in the background and the friendly greetings of the restaurant owners.  

After eyeing through Coriander’s traditional Indian food menu, one might feel overwhelmed or confused at the sight of all the Indian terms- but not for long.  The eager waiters kindly and carefully explain any mysterious dishes to a confused customer, taking pride in the fact that the customer is inquiring about a food that may be out of his or her comfort zone.  The waiters may also point out the unique family style entrées that tables usually pass around and share.  The main dishes, served in painted, ceramic pots, come with a large side of rice for the table, also served in a decorative pot.  For dessert, most customers order the culfi ice cream with fresh berries, according to the Coridander staff.

While Coriander customers enjoy a more upscale, trendy dining experience, Curry and Kabab, an Indian food restaurant in the Woodcrest shopping center, entertains its customers on a more personal level.  Although Curry and Kabab recently opened its doors in May 2008, taking over another Indian restaurant, according to owner, Stella Pilloi, customers rave about the food’s real Indian taste.  The upbeat Indian music playing and the pictures of spices hanging create an exotic Indian feel throughout the restaurant. Curry and Kabab’s chef, who previously worked as a chef at The Oberoie, a five star hotel in India, for twenty years, cooks using a Tandori clay oven.  Though most Indian families cook their own excellent Indian food at home, they eat at Curry and Kabab just for the special Tandori dishes offered, such as the Lamb Seekh Kabab, which requires the clay oven.  According to Pilloi, most American or vegetarian customers enjoy the Masala Dosa, a pea and potato dish. 

“People try every restaurant but come here to find real Indian food,” said Pilloi.

Now the transition between exotic summer fun and average school days will be easier.  Whether it’s trendy Coriander, homey Curry and Kabab, or any other Indian food restaurant in the area, Cherry Hill East students will always have a place to remind them of an exotic summer in India.