In 2017, the owners of Spice Route, a popular Indian restaurant in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, took over the restaurant formerly known as Melange in Parsippany. On a recent visit, the owner told me that he didn’t want to have to completely rebrand, only to add his own part to it—hence the addition of “by Spice Route” to the restaurant’s name.
Now known as Melange by Spice Route, the restaurant still has the Asian fusion menu it’s always been known for, with Thai, Malaysian, Chinese, and now, Indian influences. As such, it encompasses a range of different dishes. Here, you can get pad Thai, fried rice, satay, and dumplings, as well as lamb biryani and naan. There really is something for everyone on the menu, and a good place to go if not everyone in the group is craving the same cuisine.
When I stopped in for dinner with a friend last month, the restaurant was somewhat empty, with only a couple other tables with diners. It wasn’t a sign of bad food, or bad service. With an $11 buffet lunch special, Melange by Spice Route is more popular as a lunch spot, especially with so many business parks located nearby.
Our server was friendly and attentive, and the owner was happy to answer any questions we had about the dishes on the large, somewhat overwhelming menu. We started with an order of steamed vegetable dumplings ($7) and samosas ($5), stuffed with masala-spiced potato and peas and served alongside two dipping sauces: a cilantro chutney and a sweet tamarind sauce. The dumplings were fresh and plump, but we preferred the samosas, which were crisp and flavorful.
For our entrees, we ordered lamb vindaloo ($17), a traditional Indian dish with chunks of tender, juicy lamb prepared in a stew-like sauce of chiles, vinegar and spices. It was delicious, with the right amount of heat. I devoured the dal makhani ($11), featuring black lentils that are cooked over a low fire overnight and finished with butter and tomato gravy. They were smoky and creamy, the perfect accompaniment to the basket of garlic naan ($4) on the table.
I’ve returned to Melange by Spice Route several times since my first visit, and would also recommend the coconut milk-based Thai chicken curries, available with red, green, or Penang (yellow) curry. And I’ll keep coming back for the lamb vindaloo, the most memorable part of our meal.
Melange by Spice Route, 353 Smith Road, Parsippany; 973-884-4200. Open for lunch and dinner, daily.Click here to leave a comment