Last weekend we took advantage of the nice days coupled with our finishing errands/chores early and took a stroll up to Hoboken. My mind is always on food so I scouted out a couple of Indian places and while I found some that sounded legit and good, I landed on Matt & Meera – a decidedly fusion-focused place more than ‘authentic’ but I’m all about what tastes good over what’s absolutely ‘authentic’ – I mean, who am I even to judge authenticity in nearly any cuisine?!
The cafe was pretty empty around 2:30 on a Sunday afternoon, though we weren’t seated right away – I think we flustered the young waitress who was working alone. She was enthusiastic and friendly, if offering a bit awkward service – I wouldn’t say BAD, just… awkward.
Honestly, the first dish to catch my eye when I was looking up places: the “naanchos”. I’m still not entirely certain why “naan”-chos since the chips appeared to regular tortilla chips, but I loved the cute portmanteau. And these were AWESOME. A bit of melted/liquid cheese, a pico de gallo-like tomato+onion mixture that was slightly spicy, a dollop of sour cream, two jalapeno slices that Hubba Hubby happily hoovered for me, and a drizzling of mint chutney (I think) and the darker brown chutney (again, I think) that I’ve seen served at Indian restaurants in a small dish on the side, which is usually too spicy for me to eat. Here, it all combined to make glorious Indian-spiced/scented nachos that we quickly inhaled. I REALLY liked these, to the tune of wondering how to make this at home – step 1, procure those 2 chutneys and figure out what was in the ‘pico de gallo’ (cumin? garam masala? something that made it tangy and slightly spicy). Step 2 – ??? Step 3 – HAPPINESS!!!
*The online menu says these are ‘crispy naan chips with melted masala cheese’ and I’m inclined to believe them about the chips if only because of my later experience with their naan, but… you’ll see. Now I need to figure out what masala cheese is! SO YUMMY!!
Lasooni gobhi, cauliflower tossed in a tangy sauce — the description reminded me of this cauliflower dish in Indo-Chine cuisine. It can taste a little like it’s tossed with BBQ sauce when done poorly but when it’s done well, it’s AWESOME! Think of a General Tso’s cauliflower; that’s what the proper Indo-Chine dish tastes like. Our waitress chimed in to tell me how much she loved this dish and how it wasn’t unhealthy (??) which made me think I’d chosen well. And I had — Hubba Hubby REALLY enjoyed this dish, despite vegetables and anything vegetarian not necessarily being to his liking — while I ate one piece and immediately went into a sweating fit and couldn’t eat more, though I did enjoy it — just perhaps would have enjoyed it a touch more had it been slightly less spicy. (We worked it out: he ate the rest of this dish while I got to finish the naanchos. Winners all around!)
Another fusion dish: naan pizza, this one their ‘butter chicken & red chili pizza; tandoor chicken, butter masala, chili flakes, mozzarella’ – the pizza was super, super thin, which surprised both of us. I admit I was expecting more fluffy naan like it usually is, and I’ve had very good pizzas from Neopolitan-style pizzerias that make me think of naan. Imagine my surprise with this one! Very little sauce, entirely coated in mozzarella, and thin slices of chicken. I know it sounds like I didn’t like it – but quite the opposite. I actually thought this was very, very tasty – just nothing like I expected. Hubba Hubby wished there were more sauce, which I can definitely understand; there was nothing much to hold up to the mozzarella so it was like eating an open-faced quesadilla. There are worse things in the world, but this could have used a little extra sauce – either on the side to dip, or on the pizza itself (with thicker dough or this one might flop over and die from absorption or heaviness, not sure which).
Our last pick of the day was the most classic dish: chicken tikka masala with rice. It came looking suspiciously like tomato soup (which we both revile), splattered a bit across the servingware. I gamely took up a spoon and generously poured on top of the rice.
I was pleasantly surprised at how tangy the sauce was. It definitely didn’t taste like the chicken tikka masala to which I’m accustomed, but it was tasty in its own right. The chicken meat – big chunks of white meat – was surprisingly tender and still juicy, which was nice. There was plenty of sauce, and even perhaps “not enough rice” as we devoured that and still had 3 big pieces of chicken left along with sauce, which I promptly packed up to take home 🙂 Waste not, want not!
I think our total for everything (plus a soda) came to a little more than $40 (before tax/tip), which seems pretty reasonable considering how stuffed we were! We thoroughly enjoyed the food, and both of us agreed that we would not be opposed to coming back and trying more of the menu — though the service was awkward, we were never ignored and were able to get our check quickly when we wanted to leave. Just the consequence of having a very young server working alone, but she was pleasant enough.
If you’re in the area – there’s a ton of cute shops and fun things to do along Washington Street – I definitely recommend checking out Matt & Meera.
Matt & Meera
618 Washington Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030