Open 7 days, 11:30 AM to 10:40 PM
(609) 689-1500 Website
Gravitas: Decor: Cost: Proximity:
When I was first exposed to Indian food, cooked by a friend, there were virtually no decent Indian restaurants anywhere in the US. That started to change in the late-1970s. First in the big cities: NY’s Akbar restaurant opened up in 1978, in a fancy location on Park Avenue and 57th. They had reasonably priced luncheon specials, but you would have gotten nicked for $15+ for dinner, at the time a fortune. It was one of my favorite restaurants, because for a number of years, it had the best Indian food in Manhattan.
Palace of Asia is something of a throwback to the Akbar. It seems like it’s been around forever (it was the only Indian restaurant in Mercer county in 1994), though it moved to its current, luscious digs only a few years ago.
Most Indian restaurants have good food and indifferent decor. Few, today, are particularly expensive. But the Palace – despite being located in a strip mall off of Quakerbridge Rd – is absolutely gorgeous inside, reasonable for lunch, and a small fortune for dinner. Palace does a very nice buffet every afternoon (at least a couple of bucks more than other local Indian lunch buffets, though still a bargain). That’s probably the best way to get exposed to the restaurant and to decide if you’re ready to spring for the full dinner menu that will probably set you back $100 a couple if you order generously and drink some alcohol. But the space is genuinely lovely, so if you’re trying to impress your mother in law, and she likes Indian food, this would be a great place to take her.
The menu is pretty much classic Mughlai (the hybridized cooking of the Persian emperors, fused with Indian influences). It’s a nice menu and the execution is probably the best in Mercer County. But other, less expensive restaurants deliver nearly comparable food. So, for me, it comes down to the environment. Sometimes, I’m willing to spend extra to dine in a lovely space. Maybe you are, too.