Jasla In­dian Cui­sine and Jasla Events opens

Restau­rant oc­cu­pies for­mer Chateau Granieri lo­ca­tion in Jef­fer­son­ville

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Gary Puleo gpuleo@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mus­tangMan48 on Twit­ter

WEST NORRITON » Fate works in un­usual ways some­times.

It surely had a hand in match­ing the ven­er­a­ble build­ing with enor­mous curb ap­peal — a grand “Gone with the Wind”style stair­case tends to help in that de­part­ment — with a trio of new own­ers equipped with the per­fect com­bi­na­tion of gump­tion and guts to trans­form it into some­thing that will help re­store the sparkle to Jef­fer­son­ville’s din­ing and en­ter­tain­ing scene.

“I’m a vi­sion­ary guy and I truly be­lieve that this street can look as good as Phoenixville if all the busi­nesses work to­gether,” said Amit Doshi, who part­nered with Dr. Natu Pa­tel and Balder Singh to give the for­mer Chateau Granieri on West Main Street in West Norriton a long over­due new lease on life. “This is al­ready be­ing called a jewel of the Nor­ris­town area.”

Raj Cherra, a mem­ber of the group that orig­i­nally pur­chased the prop­erty from the Granieri fam­ily back in 2002, is still on board as well, Doshi noted.

In its hey­day, the ban­quet hall had been a lo­cal fix­ture for wed­dings and other events but had never served as a day to day restau­rant.

Doshi, a long­time hospitality guru with own­er­ship in a string of hotels, and his part­ners have changed all that, adding a hefty dose of “jalsa,” an In­dian word mean­ing “to kick back, re­lax and en­joy.”

While climb­ing to the top of that grand stair­case still lands you in a prime ban­quet venue, now called Jalsa Events, as well as lodg­ing known as Chateau Val­ley Forge Suites, the lower level houses the el­e­gant Jalsa In­dian Cui­sine, which is grounded by a fu­sion phi­los­o­phy worlds away from the pre­pon­der­ance of In­dian restaurants that now dom­i­nate the Jef­fer­son­villeTrooper-Ea­gleville stretch of Ridge Pike.

The menu boasts In­dian, Ital­ian and Mex­i­can fare, with the lat­ter two fre­quently flaunt­ing an In­dian in­flu­ence, courtesy of ex­ec­u­tive chef Rene Her­nan­dez.

“All the dishes were per­fected by the chefs and part­ners and we wanted to make sure we cov­ered all the spec­trums,” said Doshi, a self-de­scribed foodie who loves to cook at home. “The staff will walk you through the whole menu. If you want some­thing spe­cial, the chef will come out and talk to you, and as long as we have the in­gre­di­ents in the kitchen we will make it for you.”

Pop­u­lar dishes run the gamut from the creamy Saf­fron Gnoc­chi, with toma­toes and shrimp, to Bekham Aloo Gobi (cau­li­flower, pota­toes, cumin and gin­ger) and Naan Br­uschetta.

Deftly sea­soned with a melange of spices and herbs, the rich red hue of the ever-pop­u­lar Chicken Tikka sauce ini­tially beck­ons with its am­brosial aroma when it ar­rives at the ta­ble, sum­mon­ing you to start scoop­ing it up with the ac­com­pa­ny­ing Bas­mati rice and crisp naan.

Unique desserts ro­tate daily, rang­ing from Saf­fron Pis­ta­chio Can­noli to Fried Ice Cream.

“The key thing is that we took care of every­body,” Doshi noted. “My daugh­ter is 16, and even though she is In­dian she wants to go to a restau­rant where she

can have more than In­dian food. So kids can come here and have what they want, and the par­ents can still have In­dian, or Ital­ian or Mex­i­can food. We want to be a melt­ing pot in every as­pect. It’s not just an In­dian restau­rant, Ital­ian restau­rant or Mex­i­can restau­rant.”

A Chi­nese wed­ding and 15th birth­day quincean­era are booked for the ball­room, which re­cently hosted 300 guests for a Mother’s Day brunch.

“We want to do lots of dif­fer­ent cul­tural things here,” Doshi said. “The im­por­tant thing is that any­body with a badge — EMT, fire, po­lice of­fi­cers — we au­to­mat­i­cally give them 15 per­cent dis­count. We want to honor them for their ser­vice.”

In keep­ing with the “jalsa” sen­si­bil­ity, the el­e­gant but re­laxed con­tem­po­rary mo­tifs in the main and pri­vate din­ing rooms en­cour­age lin­ger­ing over a glass of wine or a re­fresh­ing cu­cum­ber mint cooler, a sea­sonal al­co­holic spe­cialty of the bar made with fresh cu­cum­ber juice.

“Every sin­gle drink from the bar, we want peo­ple to taste the fresh­ness. We are much dif­fer­ent than other In­dian restaurants, which don’t nor­mally have a bar or the kind of am­bi­ence that we cre­ated. We didn’t make it feel like you’re sit­ting in an In­dian restau­rant. We built this as a place where peo­ple can have a nice two hour din­ner, with whiskey, wine or what­ever you like,” ex­plained Doshi, who said he hand­picked every dé­cor de­tail him­self.

Reser­va­tions are re­quired for the pri­vate din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, which fea­tures seven-, nine- or eleven-course meals.

“Each course is paired to go with a red or white wine,” Doshi said.

“The other unique thing is that we make our own masala, grind­ing the spices here.”

Although buf­fets are a pop­u­lar lunchtime op­tion at many In­dian restaurants, in lieu of an all-you-can-eat buf­fet, Jalsa of­fers the more per­sonal, freshly made Thali, a quin­tes­sen­tial as­sort­ment of In­dian fa­vorites el­e­gantly pre­sented on a round plat­ter on freshly baked naan.

“You get two dif­fer­ent veg­eta­bles, rice, naan, a sweet and meat, un­less you get the veg­e­tar­ian ver­sion,” ex­plained Doshi, who said that din­ing guests will al­ways be ac­knowl­edged by a Jalsa owner at some point dur­ing their stay.

“We have a rule that every ta­ble has to be vis­ited by one owner, lunch and din­ner,” Doshi said. “One of us is al­ways here to make sure every guest is taken care of. Every­body says it’s a com­pli­cated busi­ness,” he added, “but it’s only com­pli­cated if the owner never shows up. When you get in­volved in every as­pect of a restau­rant, it’s eas­ier for you to see what works and what doesn’t work. And, from what our guests tell us, we know this is work­ing.”

GARY PULEO — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Amit Doshi, the prin­ci­pal vi­sion­ary be­hind Jalsa In­dian Cui­sine and Jalsa Events, stands in the el­e­gant din­ing room of the restau­rant, which is open daily for lunch and din­ner.

GARY PULEO — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

A pop­u­lar lunchtime op­tion at Jalsa In­dian Cui­sine, Thali, fea­tures an as­sort­ment of In­dian fla­vors in meat or veg­e­tar­ian ver­sions.

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