The Phoenix Network:
 
 
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
 

Review: Rasa

Essential Indian cuisine
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  February 19, 2014

 0221_Dining_top.jpg
SMOKE AND SPICE Tandoori lamp chops.

As if lovers of Indian food weren’t doing well enough around here with such places as Kabob and Curry on Thayer Street and Rasoi in Pawtucket, owner Sanjiv Dhar has opened another restaurant, Rasa, in East Greenwich. Its subtitle/slogan is “Flavors of India,” and since its name in Sanskrit means “essence,” that’s apt.

Rasa also offers an exotic environment, from colorfully decorated walls to Indian music in the background and TV clips from Bollywood movies, those funny mashups of gangsters and showgirls.

Indian restaurants are good for a change of pace if only because papadum replaces a bread basket. Here the cracker-thin discs are flecked with cumin seeds and served with the traditional onion chutney and tamarind dip, a nice transition into those flavors coming up.

Speaking of transition from Western food, my cup of mushroom soup ($4), which I chose instead of lentil, was an interesting variation on something quite familiar. There was no mistaking it for Campbell’s, not with its bounty of button mushroom slices that retained a resistant bite, nor with its sweetish brown base bolstered with spinach and cumin seeds.

Johnnie always starts with a samosa ($5), and the two fat, fried turnovers before us, filled with mashed peas and potatoes, were flavorful even without their accompanying sauces. The other starter was chicken tikka ($6.90), which I ordered because it was “tandoor-fired.” The cylindrical tandoor oven kept the five-spice curry-marinated white meat quite moist, and I especially enjoyed the accompanying cilantro dip.

Other appetizers that looked appealing included fish tikka ($7.50), which are grilled tilapia medallions with the spices heavy on the mustard; and the paneer and vegetables skewer ($7.50) — paneer is low-fat farmer cheese. Then there’s the artichoke and veggie uttapam ($5.50), a thick rice pancake. If you’re not worried about even more carbohydrates, you can have the onion bhaji ($5.50), fritters made with chickpea batter.

For our main dishes, we both did well, sipping a thick mango lassi ($3.50) while we considered them. My tablemate was up for seafood and had a few to choose from. There was both garlic shrimp and green shrimp curry ($9 for lunch and $17-plus for dinner), as well as madras fish curry ($9/$19.99). But what tempted her most was the tamarind salmon ($18.50, lunch and dinner). She found the grilled fish’s light glaze “wonderful,” because it complemented rather than competed with the taste. It was seasoned further with coriander and roasted cumin. All main dishes come with choice of basmati or brown rice and a small cup of dal, which looks like thin lentil soup, to pour over the rice.

The meat entrees include six chicken dishes, such as slow-cooked dum chicken biryani and saffron chicken kebab, and three lamb dishes, prepared as a tikka (marinated), curried, or with spinach. But what my eyes kept returning to was the last item: tandoori lamb chops ($19.99, lunch and dinner). The five small rib chops had flavor from wood grilling plus the spice blend garam masala. Importantly, they remained pink inside, retaining the meat’s flavor.

1  |  2  |   next >
| More


[ 08/31 ]   Rustic Goes Retro  @ Rustic Tri Vue Drive-In
ARTICLES BY BILL RODRIGUEZ
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   A ROYAL ROMP  |  August 27, 2014
    It was inevitable that the country that brought us staid Queen Victoria and stiff upper lips was bound to eventually loosen up and bring us Monty Python.
  •   CRITICAL MASS  |  August 20, 2014
    A discussion by three friends about the merits of a white-on-white painting results in a one-act brouhaha that transcends rarefied aesthetics and quickly descends to the human scale.
  •   WILLY'S  |  August 20, 2014
    Sometimes in this world of culinary over-achievement, of luaus and foie gras and molecular gastronomy, sometimes we simply want to chomp into a nice, juicy hamburger or hot dog.
  •   TWOTENOYSTER BAR & GRILL  |  July 23, 2014
    One of the appealing features of living in a place called the Ocean State is that there are plenty of water-view restaurants.
  •   BEE'S THAI CUISINE  |  July 16, 2014
    On the radar of Providence foodies, the ding of Bee’s Thai Cuisine has grown increasingly louder and brighter.

 See all articles by: BILL RODRIGUEZ



  |  Sign In  |  Register
 
thePhoenix.com:
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
TODAY'S FEATURED ADVERTISERS
Copyright © 2014 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group