Rasoi: South Indian Cuisine in Pawtucket

Chef Sanjiv Dhar from Rasoi (stop #3 on the Rhody Food Tours: Immigrant Cuisines of Providence).

When I miss New York after reading that there is a fancy new yakiniku place around the corner from our old apartment, Michele takes me to Rasoi. I remember that Indian food was lousy in the West Village. And South Indian food? Forget it.

The Thali at Rasoi.

Not in Providence. There are several great South Indian places nearby, and Rasoi is one of them. Upon every visit, I order Thali — but I never have the same meal twice. Six or 7 small bowls surround a mound of rice, and tonight the bowls were filled with spinach and homemade cheese (Saag Paneer); yellow lentil stew; a thick, sweet sambar; red-roasted cauliflower; homemade yogurt; a sweet potato curry; and a little dessert.

As an aside, I should mention the mixed pickle at Rasoi. For me, mixed pickle is the corned beef hash of the Indian restaurant world — it’s a barometer of how good the food is. The mixed pickle here is a delicious mixture of pickled lemon, peas, and bitter melon — and it’s tender (I don’t like that hardened lemon skin in most store-bought Indian pickles).

The traditional Indian dishes here are great too. The simple Chicken Tikka is delicious, with a crisp shell and fresh herbs instead of the more common red pellicle-crust that covers it after a bake in the tandoor. Their version of Biryani combines a sweet and savory assortment of whole spices. And a bowl of their Idli Sambar is as good for dinner as I imagine it’d be for breakfast in India.

Rasoi Restaurant
727 East Ave # 6
Pawtucket, RI 02860-6184
(401) 728-5500
www.rasoi-restaurant.com

Rhody Food Tours
http://rhodyfoodtours.com/tours/

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