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Kerala Kitchen-Much ado about........

t
toby1355 Mar 15, 2008 09:58 AM

Went to KK with much anticipation and curiosity last nite. All in all, the experience was lacking in many respects.

First off, Much of the menu is NOT Southern, let alone Kerelan/Malabar centered. As a result of not being aware of this we ordered dishes that only later were we told were Northern Indian.

Second, the food itself just okay at best.

Openers Beef patties, re-heated ( luke warm) served with onion relish and ketchup (yes, ketchup). I may be wrong but I've several Indian cookbooks that I use regularly (J. Sahni and M. Jaffrey) and they never mention anything like ketchup as an Indian ingredient/relish. The patties themselves, had they been sufficiently heated, would have been fine.

Mains:

Chicken Tikka Masala ( not my favorite but tablemates wanted this). It was standard fare, nothing more.

Potato Curry. We were told that this was akin to a Chinese/Indian hybrid. It was lumpy mashed spuds with some heat, black mustard seeds, fresh curry leaves and onions also. Served luke warm; Had it been sufficiently heated it would have been fine. But not South Indian, by my reckoning.

Pork Vindaloo; REALLY fatty and for a dish that is supposed to be one of the hottest in the Indian lexicon of dishes, it was bland. I don't understand why the meat was not properly butchered. As it was served, the two women I was with immediately refused to eat it.

We also ordered Roti, Malabar porotha ( their spelling ), and Naan. The porotha was the best of the breads.

As we were literally the only people in the place, the issue of luke warm food was inexcusable.

We live in Nassau county and have pretty much given up on places on B'way/106/107 in Hicksville. The exception is Dosa Hut. Most recently went for lunch, buffet, at the new place in the Patel Brothers Plaza. Ordered the buffet to get a sense of the place....again, more of the same Blah Indian. The Sino-Indian place nest door also had a buffet that looked really mediocre and we passed.

On the optimistic side, we did notice that WEST of Kerala Kitchen, towards the city line, there were several other Indian places that might be worth a try....Hope Springs Eternal.

  1. r
    racer x Mar 15, 2008 01:31 PM

    Considering that none of the dishes you ordered (with the exception arguably of the Malabar paratha) would be expected to be one of their specialties, I think you should give them another try before reviewing them so harshly.
    The Southern Indian dishes I've had there were reasonably good.

    As far as the food having been lukewarm, what time of day and day of the week were you there? As with any restaurant, if you were served at an off time, the food might have just been warmed up to accommodate you; the experience might have been completely different had you visited at a high-traffic time. (You could have asked the server to have the cook heat the food a little longer.)

    5 Replies
    1. re: racer x
      t
      toby1355 Mar 15, 2008 01:59 PM

      I understand caveat emptor but I thought that a place that was supposedly serving a regional cuisine would either serve it exclusively or at least note which dishes were or were not native. Also, altho the vindaloo is Goan I'd like to think that a Keralan chef could offer a decent rendition. And nothing excuses the incredibly fatty meat we were served.

      We ate there last nite (Friday) at 7:00 pm. I'd think that was a fairly high-traffic time.

      Finally, yes we could have asked that the only-warm dishes be reheated but I don't think they should have been served luke warm in the first place.

      And, I am planning to return on a week-end when they serve a buffet that was the biggest looking buffet I've ever seen. Have you tried their week-end Buffet? Are there authentic dishes served on it?

      1. re: toby1355
        s
        stuartlafonda Mar 15, 2008 03:00 PM

        Definitely give them another chance with the weekend buffet before you give up on them. The first time I went was a weekend evening, ordered a few dishes and was underwhelmed. I returned for the weekend buffet and enjoyed myself. They had many dishes that I never seen before, had no idea what they were and would never have ordered them from the menu. It was a great opportunity to try new dishes with little risk to my wallet or taste buds. As far as authentic goes, all I can say is that we are usually the only non south asians in the place and have seen a wedding reception with live music and dancers being held in the larger room. Try the buffet,I found some things were really good and others were not my kind of thing,but I have returned a number of times for the buffet. As for the many places west, Fiza Diner is a favorite of mine, a total dump with good, spicy and cheap food.

        1. re: stuartlafonda
          m
          Matt L Mar 18, 2008 05:22 PM

          Kerala Kitchen also serves a buffet for lunch during the week. The food they serve there is, I think, mostly Keralan- no overlap with the more typical Indian places that serve lunch buffets. Consistently good- but definitely better before 1pm.
          Santoor on Union Tpke is very good also, if you're looking for someplace in the neighborhood.

          1. re: Matt L
            s
            stuartlafonda Mar 18, 2008 06:08 PM

            Santoor is my "go to" lunch buffet. They have a good selection of tasty food at a reasonable price. Saturday night I went to Chuk Dey on Hiilside in the same shopping center as Herricks Movie Theatre, I think it was a bagel store in its past life. It was the most bizzarely decorated restaurant I have ever seen.The place is really small and at 9:15 p.m was packed and people that had been waiting were just walking out. Food was good but it was one visit so I'm not ready to slot it among the other area joints, but I shall return.

            1. re: stuartlafonda
              t
              toby1355 Mar 18, 2008 08:05 PM

              Just got home from going to the Herricks movies and I picked up the "menu' of Chuk Dey India too. it has the wierdest introduction I've seen in a long time. The theme is stated as "simply good rasamulla food". I don't know what this phrase means. Also there is a long list of dishes and drinks. There are at least seven kinds of milkshakes offered. As for the rest of the listed dishes, I'm not familiar with almost any of them. Can you share what kinds of dishes you had?

    2. el jefe Mar 20, 2008 03:15 AM

      I'm just back from 10 days in Kerala. Kerala Kitchen serves many authentic Keralan dishes but just like every restaurant in Kerala, they also serve many dishes from northern India.

      And, just like in Kerala, I'd stay away from the meat dishes. It's often tough, chewy, inedible.

      This is the only Indian restaurant where the buffet is much, much better than ordering off their regular menu. I've only been for the weekend buffet and it's usually packed til 3:00pm. Usually my wife and I are the only non-Indians in there. They do an outstanding job of keeping everything hot and refilling the buffet. Every other buffet in Queens, including Santoor, serves typical northern Indian cuisine.

      It's well worth another try.

      1. l
        Little Neck Clam Mar 20, 2008 12:11 PM

        I recently went for the buffet at Kerala Kitchen. I enjoyed most dishes. There was a nicely spiced yuca dish that stood out. Santoor is my default place in the neighborhood. Their chili chicken is very good.

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