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Dhamaal: A New Indian Restaurant in Montclair

by Francesca DiPisa
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One of (if not, the most) special aspects of New Jersey is how many cultures are represented in its local communities. This explains the kinds of restaurants that are located around any given town. While Italian and American food can be stereotypically known as the most popular in the Montclair area, there are plenty of other cuisines that adorn local streets and deserve just as much attention and praise. Take Dhamaal, an Indian restaurant located at 11 South Fullerton Avenue in Montclair, as a great example of an establishment that takes both its cultural roots and the unfamiliar customer into consideration with its menu, and is already welcoming both kinds of patrons as a result. Read on for more about Dhamaal, the newest addition to Montclair’s international culinary scene.


About Dhamaal

Mohit Dhanani, born and raised in Jersey City, opened Dhamaal on May 10th with his three cousins (who also own Four Monkeys Indian Bistro in Summit). They were inspired to create a restaurant that embodies their passion for both the comforting meals from their Indian heritage as well as the many flavors they cherished growing up. However, Dhamaal is setting itself apart by acting as a middle ground for skeptics and foodies. “We understand that Indian food can sometimes seem intimidating to many people, often perceived as being extremely spicy,” Mohit told The Montclair Girl. “Our goal was to create a menu that everyone can enjoy, regardless of their spice tolerance, making it an easy introduction to our Indian culture.”

The Ivy at Chatham

photo credit Dhamaall Dipisa

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When MG stopped by just one week after its grand opening, patrons of all walks of life filled the colorful restaurant while multiple parties were waiting patiently for a table with their BYOB wine. A giant tree is at the center of the dining room, and a rainbow of colors and decorative pillows create a vibrant atmosphere. An open-kitchen concept even sits in the back by the bar so diners can see what all five chefs have cooking. Visitors should also take note of the embellished umbrellas hanging on the ceiling toward the back before walking into a bathroom where faux greenery and trees are growing out of the walls.

photo credit Dhamaall Dipisa

The menu is split into different sections that make the tastebud journey an even more exciting one than at a glance: “P.K. Dhamaal” features delicious mocktails and non-alcoholic beers; “Chota Dhamaal” includes small plates like the scrumptious Paneer Pinwheels (thinly sliced paneer rolls filled with cheesy mash mushrooms roasted in tandoor); “Bada Dhamaal” highlights its big plates each with lamb, duck, cheese, or vegetables front and center; Comfort classics, lentils, pizza, and breads take up the final page of the menu before a grand finale of “Meetha Dhamaal” listing unique desserts that promise an explosion of new flavor.


As Mohit promises, Dhamaal’s mission is to fuse traditional dishes from traditional Indian culture with the American food vernacular to make any patron feel comfortable. For instance, the Kale ‘Pakora’ is described as a ‘fritter’ as it is India’s equivalent of the American french fry — and just as tasty. There are also plenty of vegan and gluten-free options to accommodate any palette.




It has to be noted that this MG writer in particular has never had Indian food primarily because of an intimidation factor and some anxieties around food sensitivity. Dhamaal has a welcoming atmosphere accompanied by staff who are more than happy to explain different dishes and flavors. The Dehli Butter Chicken (juicy chicken in a creamy, spiced tomato sauce) is an Indian classic that pays homage to its Indian roots and when paired with garlic naan makes a fantastic meal for first-time tasters. The Daulat Ki Chaat (a frothy dessert with saffron and cardamom) is a light end cap for a rich meal. The colorful dinnerware brings out the homemade flavors that can make any diner feel right at home — even for a newcomer to the cuisine like this writer.


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The owners plan to change the restaurant’s menu regularly and incorporate seasonal dishes. “We love changing our menu and being as creative as possible,” Mohit said. It will soon introduce Sunday brunch, featuring a separate menu and live entertainment. Whether a patron is brand new to Indian cuisine or is returning to the comforting flavors of a former time, Dhamaal is the next place that is sure to impress customers of any palate and leave them wanting to come back for more. Dhamaal is open Monday through Wednesday from 11:30AM-3PM and 5PM-10:30PM, Thursday from 11:30AM-3PM and 5PM-11PM, Friday and Saturday from 11:30AM-3PM and 5PM-11:30PM, and Sunday from 11:30AM-4PM and 5PM-10PM. It is BYOB.

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