Rasoi: Erratic but Delicious

By: Steve “Mo” Fye, Copy Chief | Photos By: Steve “Mo” Fye

Weekday Lunch Buffet a Consistent

There is no short­age of East Indian food in Albuquerque. Some places are terrific; some are not so great. Rasoi Indian Kitchen on Yale near Main campus is a good example of how Indian food should be done. Well, usually.

Rasoi — Hindi for kitchen — has an exten­sive menu with options for nearly everyone. There is the usual Indian fare found in every restaurant in town, but there is a depth to the menu not often found in the strip-mall buffets. Not every place in town has Curried Goat.

The problem at Rasoi is that there seems to be two sets of staff with wildly varying skill. Sometimes there is wonderful service and quick, delicious food. Other times, expect to be kept waiting and to be served food that is signifi­cantly different from what was presented just days before. It must be said that even on the off days, Rasoi’s food is tasty.

What customers expect — and demand — is con­sistency. One place where consistent quality can be found is on Rasoi’s impres­sive buffet. The buffet is beautifully presented in gorgeous copper and brass chafing dishes.

There is typically chicken from the tandoor, the traditional Indian fun­nel-shaped stove, and a selec­tion of savory vegetables.

The other entrees vary by day, but are usually won­derful. Another staple is the saag paneer: spinach and mustard greens with house-made cheese. It has been consistently delicious.

The Curried Goat is earthy and savory, braised slowly in a curry-flavored broth. The meat falls off the bones. This is worth the $8.50 for the buffet on its own.

Another favorite is the pakora, vegetable fritters in a chickpea batter. The chunks of vegetables are large and the pakora are best eaten with a knife and fork, but that is worth the extra effort for the lovely flavor, especially when dipped in the spicy chutney or the cool raita.

The sides are examples of the typical offerings on an Indian buffet, but Rasoi makes each dish special, adding additional vegeta­bles to the dal or boosting the spice in the curried cau­liflower and potatoes.

The buffet price includes a basket of naan, fresh from the tandoor. Rasoi’s naan is tender and thick, not charred and stiff like the stuff at most buffets.

The interior of the res­taurant is finely done as well. Curtains are hung from the ceiling, breaking up the space to give it a much more intimate feel. The walls are adorned with Indian art and the whole place smells of a spice market. Rasoi offers beer and wine as well as a selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes.

So while the buffet is wonderful and consis­tent, the frugal diner should beware the menu. All items are ala carte. Neither rice nor naan is included with entrees.

The best option is to go to Rasoi during the week for the lunch buffet. Of course, that is really the best advice for any buffet. The restau­rant will have more waitstaff, more cooks and the buffet will be replenished much more quickly so the food is at its freshest.

Rasoi Indian Kitchen is located at 110 Yale Blvd. SE. The restaurant is open from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch and 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. for dinner daily. For more information, call 268- 5327 or visit rasoiabq.com

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