Curry is not a spice, but is an all-purpose term devised by the English to cover the whole range of Indian food spicing. Curries can be made of vegetables, fish, meat, chicken or lamb. Indian cooks utilize a wide variety of spices in different combination and amounts in order to produce a curry flavor.
Sanjiv Dhar, chef and owner of Kabob and Curry, opened Rasoi, his second restaurant in Providence, R.I. in October 2006. In an effort to break what Dhar describes as the “curry taboo,” he and his staff prepare local northern Indian dishes (as well as many from several regions of India) that should even draw cheers from the Hindi community!
Our good friend Sasi joined us for lunch in order to help us navigate the unfamiliar Indian food waters. Sasi is a culinary “fire-eater” when it comes to spicy foods and we were initially apprehensive about his ability to make menu decisions for us that didn’t require a medic! Our concerns were quickly allayed when the food arrived perfectly prepared, spiced and balanced.
Bread Basket (choice of 3 breads – $7.99): We chose the following Naan: Date and Coconut, Garlic and Cilantro, Honey and Ginger. All breads were a hit. They came expertly prepared and hot to the table. The Garlic and Cilantro Naan had just enough browning, not over crispy and with a very generous sprinkling of garlic. The Date and Coconut was a standout partly because we generally don’t like coconut and were surprised how strangely drawn to it we became! You can’t go wrong with any Naan on the menu judging from the comments heard at the table.
Shrimp Moilee: Shrimp cooked in a creamy coconut sauce infused with turmeric and lemon juice ($15.99). One of our favorite dishes. If you love coconut you can’t go wrong with this sauce. I could have been happy just eating the Jasmine rice bathed in this sauce. The shrimp were a respectable in size and tender to the bite. Just the right mix of spice made this dish a standout. It came with a side of lentils (very tender lentils I might add) in a very flavorful sauce.
Chicken Tikka Lababdar: Yogurt, ginger, garlic marinated chicken tenders grilled and cooked in a classic tomato sauce. The all-time New Delhi favorite ($14.99). This chicken dish was another winner. The red sauce along with the ingredients was an excellent compliment to the bite-size chicken tenders. I was impressed with the tenderness of the chicken, expecting them to be a bit chewy but Rasoi did not disappoint. Make sure you have ample Basmati rice to sop up that sauce!
Tandoori Chicken: Skinless whole chicken on bones, marinated in yogurt, ginger, garlic and red chili cooked slowly in a tandoor ($14.99). This dish, a staple of Indian restaurants was very tasty. I can’t look at the picture without salivating. The pieces were moist and the charring was just right – no so much as to take away from the flavor of the spices. The color was beautiful on this dish. What a nice change to have chicken prepared in a Tandoor.
Lamb Curry: Cubed loins cooked with their signature Punjabi curry. Tempered with onion, tomatoes and garam masala ($14.99).
Mutton Masala: Halal choice on bones – Cooked slowly with Lucknowi spice blend of: green cardamom, cloves, peppercorn, and star anise ($17.99).
Fish Curry: Cooked with their signature Punjabi curry. Tempered with onion, tomatoes and garam masala ($14.99). The white fish was tender and moist.
Attention all vegetarians! If you’ve missed the restaurant train on Indian food, there are at least 10 menu entrées for the choosing. If you are currently a vegetarian-wannabe, Rasoi may tip the scales for you.
The best thing about Rasoi is that the food is unpretentious in presentation but complex in preparation. In order to serve full flavored Indian Cuisine, the quality of the ingredients and spices can never be compromised and Rasoi does not fail to deliver. This was a good eating day for the Rhode Crew!
727 East Avenue Pawtucket, RI 02860 | Phone: 401-728-5500