Rasoi apparently opened a year ago already- but for some reason I felt like it was only a couple of months ago. Maybe it's because recently they did a marketing push for the restaurant and put coupons in the mailboxes of East Side residents. A week ago I saw the coupons peeking out from under some takeout menus in a basket I keep in the kitchen, put them in my purse, and Andy and I made a date to go last Thursday to Blackstone Place in Pawtucket and try it out.
The restaurant is different than the other Indian restaurants in the area (India, Not Just Snacks, and Kabob and Curry) in terms of decor. The proprietor of the restaurant, Chef Sanjiv Dhar, is also the owner of Kabob and Curry- a homey, local, college hang-out type of Indian restaurant. By contrast, Rasoi feels more upscale. The decor is sleek and modern, with tables divided by intricately carved red wood panels, and a bar situated in the middle of the restaurant.
We started with the potato and pea naan:
I think I prefer just plain naan, because the stuffed naan can be a little heavy when I'm ready to indulge in my full entree. But this was delicious- there was only a thin layer of potato and pea mixture in the middle and so the texture and taste of the fluffy bread were still the forefront taste.
I had the Frontier Garlic Shrimp marinated in a mix of yogurt, spices, and red chili with basmati rice and cauliflower:
The cauliflower was exceptional. I had heard, from other reviews, that the cauliflower was a must-try. And it is! It is an addictive combination of a fairly bland vegetable with a great texture, a spicy marinade, and a perfectly golden fried breading. I was sad it was only a side because I probably could have eaten an entire plate of it with rice. Luckily, the shrimp was also delicious. I wish it had been served with more of the yogurt marinade because, by preference, the dish was too dry. The flavors of the marinade (there were pieces of the red chili, carom seeds, and turmeric) were phenomenal and I think every bite needed a little bit of the spice.
Andy had the Chicken Tikka Lababdar with brown rice and lentils:
Andy was most thrilled that Rasoi had brown rice, but the chicken most definitely lived up to the glory of the availability of brown rice in a restaurant. The tomato sauce was rich and filled with the flavors of whole-milk yogurt, cumin, ginger, and garam masala. The lentils were also good, but paled in comparison to the wonders of the cauliflower.
We also had wonderful service, and left feeling great about Rasoi. In terms of decor, service, and authenticity- Rasoi is the best Indian I have had in Providence. They also have a vast menu (including Thali) which promises I'll be returning many, many times!