Oak Tree Rd
Baba Hut Jersey City
771-1 Newark Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07306 Closed
Other New Jersey Indian Restaurants
Baba Hut Jersey City: Cold Indian FoodBaba Hut on Newark Avenue in Jersey City seems to have been there since, well, the days of dinosaurs.
Over the years, the signboard of this Indian restaurant has changed from Idli, Dosa Pongal Buffet hut to Andhra, Chettinad, Coastal Country Cuisine and lately to Homestyle Ethnic Dhaba Cuisine.
Dosa, Idli, Pongal Place
Andhra, Chettinad, Coastal Country Cuisine
Homestyle, Ethnic Dhaba Cuisine
We'd seen the restaurant so many times over the years, even entered into its portals twice but never mustered the courage to dine there because it looked like a dingy dump inside.
Baba Hut Jersey City - Still a DumpThe first time we visited the dump it looked like a dungeon inside and was empty during peak lunch hour leading us to retreat in haste.
The second time we visited Baba Hut tempted by its outside board "Express 100% Pure Veg Quality Restaurant".
This time we were greeted by a tall middle aged waiter, the restaurant had slightly better lighting but was still empty.
But we did not take the plunge even the second time as the middle-aged waiter welcomed us saying "come inside, we serve Andhra, Chettinad, Chicken and Non-Veg Curries".
Baffled by the outside "Express 100% Pure Veg Quality Restaurant Board" and non-vegetarian, Chettinad curries mouthed by the waiter inside, we walked out of Baba Hut a second time. As we walked out we checked the board again and this time we spotted the Non-Veg curries in tiny letters.
Just the other day we were walking on Newark Avenue and spotted a new signboard for Baba Hut that read Homestyle Ethnic Dhaba Cuisine.
This time we mustered courage and boldly marched inside like soldiers girding for battle.
You see, we've enjoyed food at several Dhabas (road side restaurants in India).
Much of the food we tasted at Dhabas in India were spicy delights. Hoping for a repeat of our past spicy delight experience, we went inside Baba Hut for the third time.
Though the outside board is brighter, Baba Hut Indian restaurant still sports the look of a dump inside with just slightly better lighting and a huge poster of Shirdi Sai Baba on the side wall near the entrance.
Baba Hut Newark Avenue - Bad BeginningThe restaurant had just four desi diners digging into their cutlets and vada.
We saw a young lady standing stiffly, looking hard at the tall empty cash counter on left corner of the dining hall.
We waited for a few minutes for this Telugu waitress (we heard her speaking in Telugu to the tall guy who emerged from the kitchen later) to take note of the waiting potential customers.
After waiting a couple of minutes we headed to the cash counter and asked the stiff waitress wearing a pained, constipated expression whether the restaurant was still open for lunch.
We also noticed the lunch buffet laid out near the cash counter. We asked the stiff waitress whether we need to pay in advance to have lunch buffet. She mumbled some thing like You can pay after lunch.
Our waitress brought a plastic water jug to our table but did not care to pour the water into the plastic glasses.
Lunch Buffet - No Food Labels, Garish PlatesBaba Hut's lunch buffet included both vegetarian and non-vegetarian appetizers, entrees, rice items and some desserts.
But the lazy cows at Baba Hut did not care to fix labels to any of the food items on the buffet station.
Also, a lot of Indian restaurants serving buffet maintain some order by way of keeping all vegetarian items and non-vegetarian items in separate groups. They often do not jumble up the containers for the benefit of Vegetarian customers. But not at Baba Hut on Newark Avenue in Jersey City.
In the absence of labels, we had to lift the lids of each of the containers to figure out vegetarian and non-veg dishes.
Also the buffet station is cramped and plates were piled up on the desserts table against the wall near the kitchen entrance along with plastic spoons, forks and napkins.
The plastic plates looked clean but had garish red and green colors.
Lunch ItemsLunch items included three rice dishes (Chicken Biryani, Pongal and Plain Basmati Rice), Vada and Vegetable Cutlet appetizers, Chicken Curry, Tandoori Chicken, Dal, Potato like white Vegetable curry, Sambar and Chutneys.
For desserts, there was Gajar Halwa, Sweet Boondi and Caramel Custard.
No Naan Bread or ChapathiBaba Hut lunch buffet did not come with Naan bread or Chapathi.
That was very strange.
We can't recollect another instance where an Indian lunch buffet in New Jersey did not include Naan bread.
Naan/Chapatis were not part of the lunch buffet station nor did it come to the table.
Baba Hut Newark Avenue - Cold OutrageThere is one thing common to all the food items on the buffet table at Baba Hut with just one exception.
They were all cold.
Who likes eating cold food in winter?
The sole exception to this cold outrage was the Sambar.
Sambar was not piping hot. It was just warm but you have to be grateful for small mercies.
Mostly Decent FoodAlthough much of the food at Baba Hut lunch was cold, it was not bland or bad.
Most of the items we tasted fell either in the above average or decent category.
Pongal (middle left) Dal (top right) Vada (middle right)
Yam like Vegetable (bottom right) Veg. Cutlet (bottom)
Brinjal, Carrot Soup like Sambar
Here is our take on Baba Hut 's food:
Baba Hut - Vegetarian Items
- Vada - Vada was cold, soft but still tasty with cut green chilli pieces.
- Vegetable Cutlet - Veg. Cutlet was crisp outside and once again was cold. No we did not enjoy much as the inside vegetable filling was not that tasty.
- Sambar - The medium thick Brinjal, Carrot Sambar was warm and flavorful.
- Pongal - Pasty, included plenty of cashew nuts, tasty with right amount of ghee and moong dal but was a tad low on black pepper. Pongal is best when served hot.
- Dal - The brownish colored medium thick pasty Dal was tangy with tamarind flavor but had no vegetables and was cold.
- Vegetable Curry - There was a pure white cubed vegetable curry that looked like Yam and turned out to be sweetish. Sure, the vegetable curry came with Urad dal seasoning but did not endear itself much to our tastebuds.
- Chutney - With a strong flavor of Peanuts, the Coconut Chutney was freezing cold though it tasted alright.
- Chicken Biryani - Chicken Biryani was flavorful with right proportion of Rice and Biryani spices.
Rice was cooked to perfection with each grain separate from the other.
The Chicken pieces were tender and absorbed the Biryani spices well. But like the Pongal, Chicken Biryani too was cold.
Tandoori Chicken (bottom left), Chicken Biryani (top)
Chicken Curry on Plain Rice
- Chicken Curry - Set in a watery gravy, Baba Hut's Chicken Curry was spicy and flavorful. Like other items on the buffet, Chicken Curry was also cold.
- Tandoori Chicken - With right marination and evenly cooked, Baba Hut's Tandoori Chicken was good. Though it was tasty we did not enjoy it much as it was cold.
Baba Hut Jersey City - DessertsThe lunch bufet included three desserts - Gajar Halwa, Sweet Boondi and Caramel Custard.
- Sweet Boondi - Sweet Boondi was crisp and had the right amount of sugar. Though it was good, we did not like the food color being added to make it look greenish and pinkish.
- Gajar Halwa - Gajar Halwa could have done with a little more ghee. But it still fell in the tasty category.
- Caramel Custard - With a piquant taste, Baba Hut's Caramel Custard was soothing to our tastebuds. Needless to say we enjoyed it thoroughly and even helped ourselves to a second serving.
Poor ServiceSay, what you will, but if we were the owners of Baba Hut, the first thing we'd deport the waitress with constipated, stiff expression back to the Telugu country.
Because this clown of a waitress does not understand the basics of hospitality business like greeting a customer, showing them to a table promptly, serving water in glasses and ensuring food is hot etc.
Also, there were no labels to any of the food items. And when we asked the waitress the name of the white colored Vegetable Curry, she looked through us as if she was hard of hearing. We asked the tall guy who emerged from the kitchen about the curry as we wanted to be sure about what goes into our stomach. The fella mumbled something unintelligible and rushed back into the kitchen.
The waitress did not even care to get us the check. We went to counter and asked her about the bill to which she simply said $21. When we paid her the cash, she did not bother to print the receipt. We had to request her for a copy of the receipt.
But the most vexing thing of our meal was the temperature of the food.
All the food items with the exception of Sambar were cold.
Baba Hut Jersey City Rating - Go only if you love Cold FoodSure a majority of items we tasted at Baba Hut were tasty and belong in flavorful category.
But we like our food to be hot temperature wise. The service is pathetic and dining room staff completely indifferent to paying customers.
When you charge $10.50 for a Lunch Buffet, you must serve Naan Bread with our meal and, more importantly, the food must be hot.
Given the poor service and cold food, it's unlikely we'll return to Baba Hut any time soon.
After all, if there's one thing Newark Avenue in Jersey is not short of it's Indian restaurants.© NJIndia.us
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