India à la Mode

Rasoi plays with Indian cuisine — and that's a good thing. Anyone for a Bollywood Popper?

Game hen was served atop a large mound of rice pilau (pilaf) studded with pistachios; on the side were curried vegetables. The hen was moist and richly flavored, but the sauce was muddled and lacked spark. Still, it was cool to see an entrée with some ambition, rather than yet one more take on vindaloo.

Then again, there's certainly nothing wrong with a good vindaloo sauce, and Rasoi's, which I tried with chicken from the lunch buffet, is tasty, with a definite vinegar edge. My favorite of the more traditional dishes at Rasoi is a toss-up between the lamb rogan josh and the palak paneer. The rogan josh offered hunks of lamb nearly as tender as the masaledar chops, in an elegant sauce that hinted at cardamom and cumin and other spices without letting one flavor dominate.

The palak paneer, cubes of homemade cheese in creamed spinach, had a lovely silken texture and verdant flavor. Though my game hen came with a generous serving of vegetables, I found myself spooning palek paneer onto my naan again and again. Of course, few cuisines are as vegetable-friendly as Indian, and for $16 Rasoi offers a sampler of vegetable dishes including palak paneer, the flavorful lentil dish dal makhani and a light, crisp vegetable samosa.

The details make Rasoi's new space pop.
Jennifer Silverberg
The details make Rasoi's new space pop.

Location Info

Map

India's Rasoi

25 N. Euclid Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63108

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: St. Louis - Central West End

Details

Rasoi Bollywood Popper$8
Calcutta fish and chips$9
Game hen$18
Masaledar lamb chops$18
25 North Euclid Avenue; 314-361-6911.
Hours: Lunch 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. daily. Dinner 5-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 5-10:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 5-9 Sun.

Longtime favorites like palak paneer are so satisfying that it's hard to fault Indian restaurants that don't vary from the standard template. Sleek looks aside, Rasoi doesn't venture too far from that template. But I'm excited to encounter an Indian restaurant that considers the cuisine's present and future as much as its past.

It's certainly a better step forward than my plan to sneak into T.G.I. Bennihan's and replace the jalapeño poppers with stuffed banana peppers.

The soccer moms would freak.

Have a suggestion for a restaurant the Riverfront Times should review? E-mail ian.froeb@riverfronttimes.com.

For more about food and St. Louis restaurants, visit Gut Check: blogs.riverfronttimes.com/gutcheck.

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