Downtown Jersey City already offers an eclectic mix of menus from its many eateries. But the latest among them serves home-style southern Indian cuisine in a chic, cafe-like setting. Nukkad – meaning “street corner” in Hindi – is all about the community coming together; to share their jokes and troubles, as well as dreams, all over a cup of chai and snacks.
Nukkad seats 30 in its 800-square foot space, and is the brainchild of Owner/Chef Garima Kothari; an investment banker turned chef educated at Le Cordon Bleu Paris, Kothari is also a top 15 finalist for Master Chef: India. In addition to restaurant experience at places like The Modern and Dirt Candy, she also owns a private catering company. The company, Breaking Bread, includes clients like Melinda Gates, the Clinton family, Deepak Chopra, and Cher.
Home-Cooked Street Food at Nukkad
Kothari excels in many different cooking styles, but she always comes home craving Indian street food. In fact, she feels that the best way to unwind is over chai samosa or a meal. “The menu evokes a feeling of nostalgia,” she says. “It’s comforting south Indian food for those who seek a taste of home; while still remaining approachable for the inquiring palate.”
To further evoke a feeling of comfort, Nukkad has a blue and white interior color scheme with bits of greens. Meanwhile, frames with contemporary Indian art and quotes such as “Chai is Life” adorn the walls.
“The restaurant has a modern Indian vibe with light, contemporary Indian music in the background and an ethereal calming feel,” says Kothari. “It’s perfect for a chai break from work, hanging out with friends, casual date night, or a corporate lunch out.”
In addition to corporate events, Nukkad also offers catering, take-out, and delivery.
Indian Soul Food That Aims to Please
Nukkad hopes to satisfy Desi nostalgia for Indian cuisine over conversations. You’ll find classic menu items like dosas (fermented rice and lentil crisp crepes) in flavors ranging from traditional to pizza. They prepare batters in-house using secret recipes straight from south-Indian kitchens. As for their Biryani, they prepare it in the popular Andhra style.
For the more adventurous eater, Nukkad’s menu offers a few curve balls. For example, they serve modern fusions such as Indian tacos, as well as curry mac and cheese. “Indian soul food is the best way to describe it,” says Kothari.
Breakfast options are simple and light, but you can order them at any time. You can try the upma, made with light semolina porridge and coconut chutney, or the baked beans on toast. Otherwise, one heavy brunch item to try is the Bombay sandwich, a grilled, herb-spiced veggie sandwich. Click here to see the full menu.
If you’re in a hurry during the afternoon, you can order a quick lunch they call Tiffin; this lets you choose a curry with rice, then add either bread or a yogurt and salad. After 3:00 pm, Nukkad offers a Chai Nashta menu; these easy-to-share small plates of snacks include samosas, momos, maggi noodles, and more.
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