For those who abstain from meat and dairy, spotting "vegan" on a menu in this city is a rarity. Yet open one at Raj's Rasoi, an all-vegetarian Indian eatery, and the word is listed more than a dozen times. Tucked in a corner of Maryland Heights, the humble environs might fool an out-of-the-loop passerby. Looks, though, aren't everything. When owner-chef Raj welcomes you, lets you pick a seat and hands over the detailed menu, elementary translations for first-timers and all, you feel reassured. If 60 meat-free items make the selection process seem overwhelming, go for the ever-popular vegetable korma (No. 30), a savory vegetable medley sprinkled with cashews and raisins and smothered in a creamy tomato sauce. Paired with aloo gobi, a spicy take on potatoes and cauliflower, the korma balances soothing bites with wow-that's-hot ones. As you feast, the Casio-like music whispering from somewhere, the gold-stenciled walls and the string of half-lit colored lights becomes charming. Yes, you'll be back.
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