Jul. 18, 2012 - Issue #874: Musician’s Survival Guide: Songwriters on Songwriting
A taste of India in Mill Woods
Rasoi on 50th worth the drive
4341 – 50 St
Indian restaurants in Edmonton are now just as easy to come by as Chinese cuisine, but it's a bit odd that Indian fare in Little India (the area between Gateway Boulevard and 91 St along 34 Ave) and, to an even lesser extent, Mill Woods (where there is a large South Asian community) is not getting very much notice. Being a former Mill Woods resident myself, I wonder how in the world I had not yet managed to step inside Rasoi on 50th—The Indian Kitchen until recently.
For one thing, Rasoi can barely be seen as you drive by the strip mall it is located in, which includes a Mac's convenience store, a tanning salon and a Chinese restaurant. Looks can be deceiving, however, because once you step into Rasoi, it's impressive how much bigger its interior seems compared to its exterior. It's similar to the feeling I get when I step into Origin India on Whyte.
Rasoi has a modern look with the unfinished ceilings being the most obvious characteristic. However, they manage to pull off the unfinished look by having painted the ceiling and fixtures with the same earth colour as the walls, giving the restaurant a nice spacious feel. Next to our table was a lounge area that could have easily passed as a living room with its black leather sofa and seats. Quiet Indian music also added to the ambiance of the restaurant.
My table of four was immediately served with a complimentary tray of papadum (a large thin crisp made out of chickpea flour) with spicy mint sauce. I ordered a sweet and creamy mango lassi ($4), which was a great way to offset the medium spiciness of the main dishes to follow. To start, my friends and I ordered mixed vegetable pakoras ($5.95), which came with a slightly sweet tamarind dipping sauce. These were some of the best pakoras I've ever come across with the distinct flavours of the spices.
Our server was very attentive as well as slightly amused by a friend of mine's inexperience with Indian cuisine that he checked back to see if my friend had enjoyed the dishes (he did). We ordered the Chicken Tikka Masala–diced chicken pan-fried with herbs and vegetables ($12.95); Royal Chicken cooked in a rich cashew nut gravy, flavoured with cumin, cardomons and saffron ($13.95); and yellow Dal lentils embellished with "tadka" (a fresh sautéed mixture of spices) ($8.95), which all came in small square dishes along with clay oven-baked plain and garlic naan ($2 each). The naan was wonderfully soft and buttery, like biting into pillows, and it soaked up the sauces in the dishes very well. Everyone agreed that all the dishes were delicious, but the royal chicken received the most praise.
We also ordered a dish from the Valentine's Special–paneer e' bahar: cubes of cottage cheese with cashew gravy and a winning combination of yellow pepper and pineapple served with jeera rice pilaf and peshwari naan ($17.95). The peshwari naan contained a mixture of nuts and was extremely flavourful. Meanwhile, the salad that accompanied the dish contained spinach, red onions and carrots, making it a nice contrast to the
The dishes were perfect for sharing, so we had enough room for dessert. My dinnermates and I had been eyeing the kulfi falooda, a creamy ice cream served with falooda (rice noodles) ($4.95), so we ordered one of each flavour (mango and saffron) to share. It was an interesting dessert item to see as the falooda looked a bit like bean sprouts under the restaurant's dark lighting, but the stringy noodles blended well with the ice cream. We had also decided not to leave the restaurant without trying the Indian chai ($2). Our server brought out the piping hot cups of freshly brewed chai; the smell of spices seeping out was heavenly.
Everyone at my table agreed that Rasoi easily rivaled other Indian eateries they had been to, and its ambiance made for a very relaxing dining experience. Now there are a few more people who have been convinced that Mill Woods is where it's at when it comes to great, authentic Indian cuisine in the city. vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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