Patch Readers Choice Award WinnerCross Culture Cuisine was voted the "Best Ethnic Restaurant" winner of the 2012 Patch Reader's Choice Awards!
Cross Culture - This Doylestown Indian-food standout sates the appetites of carnivores and vegetarians alike

By Brian Freedman

It’s not an easy trick to make an avowed carnivore long for another bite—and another, and another—of a strictly vegetarian dish. But that’s exactly what Cross Culture accomplished with its navaratan korma, a melange of peas, cauliflower, broccoli, cashews, golden raisins and more, all luxuriating in a coconut-tinged cream sauce that, in all the best ways, embodied the huge benefits of a well-conceived and executed vegetarian preparation.

If I had to choose one national culinary tradition from around the world to lean on for my occasional craving for more vegetables in my life, it would have to be India’s. Over the past year, I’ve enjoyed more meatless food from India than I have from anywhere else. It has something to do with the fact that there’s a long, elaborate vegetarian tradition in the subcontinent’s foods, and the seasonings brought to the various ones are often so complex themselves, so deeply savory and layered, that the lack of animal protein is typically relegated to a minor facet of each forkful.

Cross Culture, the barely six-year-old BYOB whose first location opened in Peddler’s Village in 2005 and whose fourth, in Lambertville, N.J., may swing open its doors by the time this review runs, excels at the kind of food that both rewards the more dedicated while still providing enough familiarity to appeal to Indian-food novices.

The navaratan korma is a handy example; so, too, is the tandoori special, a mixed-grill plateful that, from wildly tender yogurt-marinated chicken to earthier lamb to more toothsome beef, clearly demonstrated the many benefits of cooking in the tandoor clay oven: Despite the differences in each meat’s inherent flavor and texture, as well as their marinades, all were imbued with the telltale sweet smokiness of the oven. And the chicken, dipped into a side dish of sweet tamarind sauce, was transformed into a dead ringer for perfectly done American cookout food, only better.

Lamb achari was a touch more idiosyncratic, and therefore not necessarily for first-timers. Its main flavor component, the pickled spices of its burnished-umber sauce the color of a deep Cajun roux, lent the meat—tender, gently pink at the center—a high-toned savory quality that, though I personally found it addictive, may prove to be a touch too salty for some. If you fall into the latter camp, drizzle it with a bit of raita; the yogurt-based condiment’s cool cucumber notes provide a perfect foil.

This is also a kitchen with a real facility at the fryer. Aloo tikki, a fluffier, coriander-kissed fried potato-and-pea pancake, had enough spicy lift on its own to require no additional sauces or chutneys. But some of the fried treats in the mixed appetizer sampler did. And while I didn’t want anything interfering with the delicate sweetness of the cauliflower pakora, or the fresh springtime spark of the spinach one, others, like the surprisingly underwhelming samosa, benefited from a trip through the mint-cilantro chutney.

Papadams, however, were perfect: Snappy and thin and speckled with cross sections of remarkably floral black peppercorns, they were lively and bright on their own and provided a spectacular backdrop for the kachumber, a tomato-onion-and-chili condiment that reminded me of nothing so much as a sort of Indian pico de gallo. Breads, all done in-house, succeeded, too, especially the naan with its pizza-like leoparding of crisp blackened sections alternating with doughier, fluffier spots.

Gulab jamun, a favorite of so many fans of Indian restaurants, was spot on here: The homemade cheese doughnuts were fluffy and sparked with cinnamon and cardamom, the warm sugar syrup perfumed with rose water upon request.

Cross Culture has seen remarkable growth since its first outpost opened in 2005, and it’s no wonder that this particular concept has seen so much success. Service is friendly and enthusiastic, the space itself leans on its natural architecture (brick walls, wood floors) and tasteful Indian art, and the food is approachable without pandering.

Cross Culture, then, is more than the sum of its very appealing parts, and represents exactly the sort of restaurant that should continue to both satisfy Indian-food devotees and convert new ones. Its continued expansion is a great thing for the region’s most discerning food lovers—both carnivore and vegetarian alike.

Brian Freedman is a food and wine writer based in Philadelphia.

Times of Trenton
Bill of Fare: Cross Culture Adds Indian Cuisine to Lambertville's Culinary Mix
By Susan Sprague Yesk

Lambertville's reputation as a restaurant town was sealed in recent years when Peruvian and Middle Eastern eateries joined a lineup that already included Italian, Thai, Mexican, seafood and American.

Recently it expanded with the arrival of Cross Culture, a traditional Indian restaurant that caters to American tastes. It took over the pocket-sized space on Kline's Court formerly occupied by Mexican and Italian restaurants.

Cross Culture already is known in Princeton, where it has developed a following as a restaurant that acknowledges that the fiery flavors of India often – but not always – need to be toned down for American clientele. Owner Monty Kainth says he is continuing that practice in Lambertville, where the majority of his customers are of non-Indian heritage.

Kainth calls Indian cuisine "the fastest-growing dining trend across the United States," and says he has built on his reputation on consistency. "Everything is made fresh" at both restaurants, he says, following his personally developed recipes.

We started our meal with a mixed appetizer of vegetable samosas, pakoras and papadam, $7.95, and aloo tiki, $4.95, potato patties made with peas and chili peppers and flavored with coriander.

The samosas – lightly fried turnovers filled with potatoes and peas – were the favorite, while the aloo tiki and batter-dipped pakoras were also good. The papadam – a crisp flatbread – was a little too peppery for our tastes.

Accompanying the appetizers were the traditional dishes of tamarind and mint yogurt sauces, which our server quickly explained were a contrast of sweet and heat. The tamarind sauce is sweet, while the yogurt sauce has plenty of fire for the fan of spicy foods.

From the entrée selection we chose the panir masala, $15.95, a delightful dish of homemade cheese cubes cooked in a lightly seasoned creamy tomato sauce and flavored with onions.

An order of lamb sagwalla, $19.95, was fresh and flavorful with tender cubes of lamb served in a spinach sauce flavored with coriander. The dish was a bit too spicy for our tastes.

While Kainth says he strives for consistency in his restaurants, occasionally a cook will vary the amount of spiciness. If we ordered this dish again we would ask that the cook make it mild.

Shrimp nargisi, $21.95, was the unexpected pairing of fresh, tender shrimp with hard-boiled egg in a nicely done coconut sauce.

From the list of rice-based biryanis we chose the chef's special, $19.95, made with light and fragrant basmati rice and tender chunks of chicken, lamb and shrimp. Adding flavor were cashews and golden raisins, and this dish would have been perfect if it had been just a bit less spicy. We would also order this again, but ask the cook to turn down the heat.

Each entrée except the biryani was served was a generous amount of basmati rice. Accompaniments were extra, including raita, $2.95, a cucumber and yogurt sauce that helps offset the heat of the food, and achar, $2.50, the mix of hot and spicy Indian pickles.

We tried both, which were very good, as was an order of naan, $2.95, the traditional airy white bread baked in the tandoor oven.

Desserts are similar to those found in most Indian restaurants. An order of rasamali, $4.95, was good with pistachio nuts and cardamom flavoring the balls of sweet homemade cheese simmered with milk. A mango milk shake, $4.95, was light and mildly sweet.

Among the beverage selections the mango lassi, $5.50, was nicely done, while Indian masala tea, $2.25, was pleasantly spiced, warming and aromatic.

At Cross Culture in Lambertville, Kainth continues the tradition he started, creating a restaurant that is worth a visit whether you are a fan of Indian food or not. Just remember to be specific about how spicy you like your food.

Cross Culture
13 Kline's Court, Lambertville
(609) 397-3600,
HOURS: Noon to 10 p.m. Tues. to Sun., closed Monday.
CREDIT CARDS: Most major.
FOOD: Very good traditional Indian cuisine is served with less fire than is found in most Indian dishes. The heat quotient can be raised on request.
SERVICE: Pleasant and very helpful.
AMBIENCE: Tasteful Indian artwork decorates this small white-tablecloth restaurant tucked away on Lambertville's Kline's Court.
COST: Appetizers, soups and breads $2.95-$21.95; entrees $15.95-$21.95.

Bucks County Happenings
Review of Doylestown's Cross Culture Indian Cuisine

There is no doubt that Bucks County offers an abundance of fantastic restaurants, but there is definitely room for improvement in one area- diversity. That's why I was so excited to go to Cross Culture Indian Cuisine in Doylestown last week. The range of flavors and textures in an Indian meal- when done right- makes for an incredibly satisfying & unique experience that I don't often get to enjoy.

My expectations were high & Cross Culture did not disappoint. As soon as we sat down on their spacious porch and were so warmly greeted by our waiter, I knew that we were in for a treat. Since the restaurant is a BYOB, we grabbed a chilled bottle of a semi-sweet white wine to balance the spicy flavors of Indian cuisine. We savored our warm, perfectly baked homemade Indian breads & enjoyed entrees of Chicken Cashmere & Lamb Chop Masala. The only regrets we had were watching the other tables receive their orders and wishing we could try more! Fortunately, there is always next time and we will certainly be making our way back to Cross Culture.

Cross Culture Fine Indian

Cuisine Restaurant & Catering NOW SERVING A FULL BAR !

62-64 West State Street

Doylestown, Pa 18901

Phone (215) 489-9101

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4:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Tuesday 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM