Su-Th 11:30 AM - 10 PM; F-Sa 11:30 AM - 10:30 PM
(609) 275-8800 Website Google Maps
Gravitas: Decor: Cost: Proximity:
Indian Hut is a slightly odd, new restaurant in a small retail strip just south of the Quakerbridge Mall in Lawrence. It’s the fourth in a series of Indian Hut locations (the others are in Bucks County, PA) which share the identical concept and menu: a cake bakery (not Indian desserts, but western style cakes with butter-cream frosting) combined with a casual Indian Cafe serving an extensive Indian menu that includes chaat.
The food menu and execution are VERY similar to Hurry Chutney in the Nassau Park Blvd. Mall, though Indian Hut is 15-25% cheaper for the same items. For example, in May 2015, Behl Puri was $3.99 at Indian Hut and $4.95 at Hurry Chutney; Samosa Chaat was $4.99 and $5.95 respectively. The decor and ambiance at Indian Hut is not quite as nice as Hurry Chutney’s, though it’s extremely clean and reasonably pleasant.
It’s been a while since I’ve eaten at Hurry Chutney, so I can’t compare portion sizes or quality directly. I can say that both serve good quality food that isn’t overly heavy or salted (compared to many Indian restaurants). And both have a comprehensive chaat menu.
What’s chaat (pronounced ch-aahh-t)? It’s a series of savory snacks in various configurations, often whimsical. For example, one of my favorites is a dish called Pani Puri, which consists of hollow balls, crisp fried, about 1.5″ in diameter. To eat them, you punch a hole in the top, fill the ball with an intense cilantro sauce and a few chick peas, then pop the whole thing in your mouth.
Other preparations are quite different. For Behl Puri (pictured here), think of a bowl of fried rice crispies mixed with chickpeas, onions, cilantro, diced cucumber, tomato, and pungent sauce. Or Samosa Chaat (header image): a potato samosa, heated and sliced open, then smothered with various pungent sauces (yogurt, mint/chile, and tamarind), chick peas, little and medium-sized fried crunchy thingies, and cilantro.
It’s fun food that’s hard to stop eating (think of a bag of potato chips, only way more interesting). And it’s not available many places in the US.
There’s also a conventional Indian menu including dosas, various curries, and an Indo-Chinese section. I’ve only sampled a limited amount of it, but what I’ve tried was well prepared. At lunch time (11:30 – 3) you can order a thali which provides a series of items at $7.99 for vegetarian, or $8.99 for non-vegetarian. Personally, I think the chaat is the way to go: if I want a full Indian meal, I think the nearby Myilai Masala offers both better food and a better deal, but you may feel differently. If your heart is set on chicken or meat, of course, then Indian Hut is the winner.