We met up with two friends of ours for our semi-non-annual date night at Cross Culture in Haddonfield, NJ to melt our faces off with Indian spices. What a treat! Ever since leaving Philadelphia and the kings of Indian food, Ekta, and Tiffin, we have been on a search to find good Indian food in South Jersey. Our travels lead us to quite a few places before stumbling upon Cross Culture. We were a tad bit turned off by the price — in my opinion, Indian food is still (wrongly) considered “exotic” and hence a little on the pricey side. A Chicken Tikka Masala plate for $17.95 gave reason for pause to this cheap bastard. Don’t worry, the price tag is pretty worth it. I’ll explain the “pretty” part.
The restaurant itself is lovely compared to the total dives I’ve been to that call themselves Indian restaurants. Even Ekta’s dining area is quite shabby by comparison. I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s the nicest sit-down Indian restaurant in the region. If you are new to Indian food in general, you may find this a bit easier to walk into. You’ll find the decor elegant in style and immaculately well kept. The mood is absolutely wonderful and service is friendly, fast, and helpful.
We ordered as an appetizer Panir Tikka. Here’s my opinion on it. The presentation is nice, lots of veggies and garnish on the side. Panir is weird in that it is not like the cheese we Americans expect, though it has the tough consistency of a cottage cheese. Or, so I think. I don’t quite know. I’m not an expert on Panir yet though that link may help. Wikipedia to the rescue! It looks deeply red, like it’s been spiced up for a good long while. There is a nice mix of spices so that nothing dominates over each other.
For our meals, our table ordered Chicken Korma, Chicken Tikka Masala (2), and Chicken Cashmere. My entree was Chicken Tikka Masala.
The server asks when you order what level of spice you want, on a scale of 1-10. I choose 8 and it came out on the medium side, a 6-7. Though the number scale can be interpreted differently by everyone. It’s hot, medium or Inde Blue (that is to say, bland) right? There’s a good mixture of spices involved, however, and what I think is too much reliance upon green peppers. I like green peppers, and I like the slight addition of it, but don’t put 3-5 chunks of it in a serving. That’s just silly. I would love a plump juicy tomato in there instead. The spices itself are present and not overpowering. I wish there were more. The chicken is not juicy, but that’s to be expected. It’s got a lot of flavor however, so that’s good. The sauce is nice and creamy, and man naan is fantastic in it.
My final say on Cross Culture is eat there but understand that it’s a little on the pricey side for obvious reasons. Haddonfield is an expensive area and sadly I understand why the price is higher. What it does for someone like us is keeps us from going there as frequently, which is sad. DID I MENTION THIS WAS SAD? Anyways, If you are afraid to go over the bridge and want to try out Indian food, this place is the only place you should go.