NanKing – Jersey City


Cooking is an art! Gourmet Chefs and gourmands like me would swear by that statement. I read an article that advocated the fact that one should not cook when in a bad mood as the concocted food result would not appeal to the taste buds of those who consuming it. It seems that the chefs of ‘Nan King’ at Jersey City didn’t dust the clutter off their minds when they dished out our dinners on the Friday evening when we chose to dine there.

In all fairness, I have been to Nan King several previous occasions and the food was satisfying in the way that it was cooked and served. There was an occasional dud but that was easy to forgive. The ambiance is great with soothing lighting, candles and music playing in the back ground. It seems to me that there has been a change of chefs or sous- chefs of late that had resulted in the food debacle during my visit. It’s either that or the kitchen staff were cranky that evening!

The menu is a combination of Indo-Chinese and Thai dishes with the usual suspects like Hakka noodles, Pad thai, red and green curries, sauces dominated by basil and more. We started off with dry ‘Vegetable Manchurian’ and ‘Chilli Paneer’ for appetizers. When one is away from home in India, one is always a sucker for the manchurians and the chilli paneers! The ‘Chilli Paneer’ scored over the ‘Vegetable Manchurian’ – it was perfectly cubed and coated with soy sauces, sautéed to perfection with some magic spices and presented even more beautifully with carved carrots. The manchurian on the other hand tasted like dry gulab jamoon sans the sweet flavor. The vegetarians ordered the ‘Pineapple fried rice’, ‘Chilli garlic noodles’ with vegetables and ‘Red Thai vegetable curry’ to accompany these choices. The fried rice seemed to have an unpleasantly pungent flavor – I am not sure what caused this but since it was the first meal for the day for my starving friend he just woofed it down! The Thai vegetable curry was a coconut based mild sauce with choice of vegetables like broccoli, carrot, peppers and onions was good and am sure would have complemented any kind of rice/noodles on another day. Even the Thai vegetable curry could not help the disaster that the Chilli garlic noodles were. The noodles seemed to have been cooked using a litre of oil! The only taste that was prominent was that of the oil which seemed to be stale; the noodles just oozed oil all over the plate, mouth and lips that I had half a mind to dab the oil off using some tissues. My friend was unhappy with her Basil Ginger shrimp which she said entirely lacked the taste of the basil. The only person who had no complains about his food was the friend who ordered a Szechwan Chicken and some rice!

The chilli garlic noodles and the basil ginger shrimp were not consumed beyond 3-4 spoons! We expressed our unhappiness to the waitress and requested for these items to be knocked off the bill as we had hardly consumed them. After a discussion with the chef she got back us about their willingness to knock of the Shrimp but in their opinion the noodles were supposed to taste that way and that they would compensate by offering us a dessert on the house – this was a total surprise considering that the noodles had been excellent on several previous occasions and was considered as my safe choice. Not to be brushed off that way and upset with the fact that they were trying to convince me that ‘inedible’ was the way a dish should taste, I expressed my concerns to the manager and Nanking finally knocked off the Noodles too!

Nanking at Jersey City does boast of a good bar. Their apple and ‘lucky lychee’ martinis are simply superb. Their desserts especially lychee’s with ice cream and the malai kulfis are recommended. The restaurant is definitely on the expensive side – Our dinner consisting of 2 appetizers, 2 lychee martinis, 2 beers, a pineapple fried rice, Chicken and rice set us back by $120, inclusive of service charges and taxes. (Note that the price mentioned was the total when two items were knocked off). Nanking is a chain and is also open at other places in New Jersey. A colleague of mine chanced to eat at the joint in Edison and he wasn’t too happy as his fried rice tasted like Indian Pulao! Personally I don’t see myself eating Nanking again. The reason for the same: The items are surely priced for a king but the quality is definitely not for one.

Location: 101 Hudson Street, New Jersey, NJ 07302
Category: Thai / Chinese
Recommend: Give it a try – you may get lucky!
Cost: Appx $60 for 2 people (without alcohol)
Website: http://www.nankingrestaurantgroup.com/
Other Info: Delivery option available

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