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Moksha Edison Review
Moksha Edison1655-200 Oak Tree Road
Edison, NJ 08820
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Moksha Edison: Pricey Food; Inattentive Service; Coffee - a disgrace
Awful CoffeeWhen you claim to be a South Indian restaurant, you better quickly learn to make a decent cup of Coffee.
But five months after Moksha opened its doors the Coffee there is a disgrace.
Even the worst gas station Coffee in the U.S. must surely taste better than the Coffee at Moksha. At $4 a cup for this dishwater, it must rank on par with Britain's plunder of India.
The pitiful Coffee is just one of our gripes about Moksha, part of the same restaurant group that also runs Ming and Moghul (both on Oak Tree Road and close neighbors to Moksha).
Moghul has been one of our longtime favorite restaurants in the U.S. So, when Moghul got a new sibling called Moksha that specialized in South Indian cuisine, we were eager to try the food there. A quick look at the menu reveals that the restaurant adequately covers key dishes from the four South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka.
Panagam, SundalOur Moksha yatra started pleasantly enough with Panagam ($4), a ginger-flavored lime drink sweetened with jaggery, and Roja Sarbath ($4), a rose and melon drink with a touch of mint. Both Panagam and Roja Sarbath were refreshing and we munched on the complimentary rice papads with tomato onion chutney that our waiter laid before us.
Since we needed more time to navigate the entree menu, we ordered an appetizer - Thenga Manga Pattani Sundal (Mango and cooked dried Peas Salad). In its various avatars, Sundal has been one of our perennial favorites. The Thenga Manga Pattani Sundal at Moksha did not disappoint and evoked nostalgic memories of Sundal consumed on the Marina Beach in Chennai in the 1970s and 1980s.
Kozhi Curry, Guthi Vonkaiya KooraWe skipped the soup and for the main course ordered Chettinad Kozhi Curry (Chicken Chettinad) and Guthi Vonkaiya Koora (Baby Eggplant with Sesame). Both dishes are marked on the menu card with an image of a chilly, suggesting they are spicy.
But some mishap must have befallen our Kozhi Curry and the Vonkaiya Koora on their journey from the kitchen to our table because what we tasted was far from spicy. While almost bland, the Chettinad Kozhi Curry was still quite palatable when it was mixed with rice. The chicken was tender and we've had worse gravy at other places.
However, the Guthi Vonkaiya Koora was a travesty of a dish and less than mediocre. It was mostly bitter reminding us of Pavakkai Kozhambu (bitter gourd curry).
Both the Chettinad Kozhi Curry ($15) and the Guthi Vonkaiya Koora ($13) do not come with rice, which has to be ordered separately.
When a restaurant charges $6 for a bowl of plain white Rice, $4 for a cup of Coffee and a minimum of $15 for a non-vegetarian entree, you are rightly entitled to attentive service and good food. But Moksha falls way short on the service and gets just an average grade on the food.
While the worst item on Moksha's menu is the Coffee, what really got our goat was the inattentive service. After taking our initial order, our harried waiter turned into the Halley's Comet, seldom showing up. Our water cup was not filled for long time and we had to strain to catch the attention of a passing waiter. Perhaps, a table of two is not as attractive a proposition to a waiter as a party of eight or 10.
Malgova, Mango PickleBy this time, my disappointed companion and I decided to seek solace in dessert (Since our waiter was still playing hide-and-seek with us, we placed our dessert order with a different waiter). Our choice of dessert was a wise decision because the Malgova Pudding ($6) is a sweet treat straight from the heavens. Every spoon of Malgova - a mango and roasted coconut pudding - was sheer ecstasy. We later regretted not ordering one more plate of this delightful pudding.
The only other item that deserved high praise at Moksha was the hot mango pickle. It made up for the less-than-spicy Kozhi Curry and Vonkaiya Koora.
Although the ambience is notches higher than at most Indian restaurants, Moksha is not value for money. Neither the food nor the service justify the pricing on the menu.
Moksha Edison RatingAll in all, Moksha is a blemish on the fine reputation that Moghul has earned over the years.
Interestingly, Saravana Bhavan, the other new South Indian restaurant in the area, also does not offer food or service that is in any way superior to what has been available at the many Indian restaurants dotting the Oak Tree Road landscape.
N.B. - Moksha serves various kinds of dosas for $5 each and a lunch buffet for $12 Tuesday-Friday and $14 over the weekends.- © OakTreeRoad.us