Nomad is slowly becoming a hotbed of quality Indian food. Saravanaa Bhavan has been the quintessential Dosa place for some time and has become something of a taste of home for many South Asian transplants. Recently, another interesting place has opened in the area: Cloves Indian Cuisine. And to cut the story short, it’s definitely a welcome addition.
This restaurant is the latest from restaurateur Syed Haider, an accomplished figure in the industry who has worked in the Indian culinary world for several decades. In the late 80s, Haider moved to NYC, beginning his culinary career at the acclaimed Bombay Palace, owned by his mentor Sant Singh Chatwal. After his tenure at Bombay Place, he assumed the role of general manager at Sapphire Indian Restaurant, expanding his knowledge of restaurant management and menu and wine list development. With this extensive experience, Haider then launched his first restaurant, Jaz in Hell’s Kitchen, followed by the fast-casual Forest Hills Indian Cuisine.
To bring his vison for Cloves Indian Cuisine to life, Haider has partner with Co-Owner Abdul Rocky and Consulting Chef Vijay Bhargava, previously Executive Chef at Raga Indian Restaurant Midtown, who received a 3 Star review from New York Times critic Mimi Sheraton. Ashish Negi will serve as Chef de Cuisine, formerly of Utsav and will execute the extensive menu of Northern Indian fare and beloved Indian favorites.
My experience there was lovely. I began the meal with a couple of samosas. Thanks to tiktok, I had been craving some all week and this was just what the doctor ordered. They came beautifully plated with a flower nestled between two plump samosas and garnished throughout with tiny chips of bell pepper that resembled confetti. The outside of the samosas were crisp while the interior was soft and heartily stuffed. They also came paired with a good mint sauce and a surprisingly authentic tamarind sauce. All it all it was a great way to start the meal.
To continue, I had the chicken vindaloo while my girlfriend who accompanied me had the Lamb Madras. We got a side of rice and garlic naan to go with the meal. Oftentimes with Indian food, the sauce does all of the heavy lifting and the same is true here. For both the chicken and the lamb the sauce was wonderfully done and left me wanting more, even though I was near bursting at the seams. The lamb was done to absolute perfection. The rice was light and fluffy and served as a perfect compliment to the chicken and the lamb dishes. My only real complaint as someone from Caribbean and Indian descent is that the food was not spicy enough. However, to the average restaurant goer, that may be a solid green flag that this is what you’re looking for.
Finding an Indian restaurant that’s not nestled in a strange corner of town or stuck in the no man’s land of New Jersey is tough. It’s tougher still to find one where you can order as a new comer to this genre of food. Cloves is both a perfect introduction and a wonderful experience to undertake. The management is overwhelming nice and attentive. You can tell they put their care into what they do and it’s a welcome sight. It’s easy, simple, and a place I want to eat at again in the future. I certainly recommend a visit to this spot.