Let’s get this out of the way up front: I’ve never met an Indian dish that I didn’t like. But Indian-themed pizza made with naan bread crust? What?
This, I had to try.
Curry Kitchen and Naan Pizza, 1131 and 1133 3rd St., are two Muskegon restaurants occupying the same space. Owner Kismat Grewal runs them with her husband, Raj. Curry Kitchen has been in business since 2012. In 2017, Raj hit upon the wild idea of making pizza with naan bread and Indian toppings, and the Naan Pizza restaurant addition was born. Unfamiliar with naan? It’s a soft, wonderfully flaky flatbread common in Indian cuisine. The result: two menus, one dining room.
It has a pleasant, low-light ambiance, with a striking painted mural — it almost feels like you’re in an ancient cave or some sort of dimensional warp. The place is peppered with intriguing statues and decorations.
My curiosity compelled me to go first with the Naan Pizza menu, and I brought along my friend, Anthony.
Service was courteous and fast. When our food was brought out, I involuntarily said “Holy cow!” These pizzas are very colorful, a treat for the eyes as well as the taste buds. I chose the Paneer Tikka Pizza, consisting of Masala sauce, cheese, garlic, cilantro, paneer, red onion and green pepper. (I have a fondness for paneer, a white, slightly doughy cheese cut into cubes, almost an Indian version of fresh mozzarella.)
Anthony went with the Butter Chicken Pizza, featuring makhani sauce, cheese, garlic, red onion, green pepper, and, of course, butter chicken. He also ordered a Mango Lassi, essentially a shake made with mango, yogurt, milk, sugar and a sprinkle of cardamom. Yum!
Mango Chicken Pizza is Naan Pizza customers’ favorite, Kismat said. “The customers can’t get enough of it!”
On a return visit I ordered from the Curry Kitchen menu, which features a wide variety of Indian and Indo-Chinese dishes.
The appetizer was mulligatawny soup, comprised of lentils and chicken cooked with cream and rice. My main dish was one of my personal favorites, Palak Paneer (which I learned I’ve been pronouncing incorrectly): spinach cooked with spices, cream and paneer cheese cubes served with rice.
Spice levels can be ordered from level one to level five. I went with three, which provided the heat I enjoy without annihilating my senses. If you are spice averse, I’d go with a one or two, tops.
During the worst of the COVID pandemic, Curry Kitchen provided numerous free meals for people in need. Kismat and Raj feel strongly about helping the Muskegon community. Their customers have returned their generosity in kind with their loyal business.
So, whether you pick the traditional Indian cuisine of Curry Kitchen or dive into the wonderfully unique experience of Naan Pizza, you can’t go wrong.
“Our customers are our family,” said Kismat.
This is a family worth joining!