Tag Archives: indian

Rickie’s Indian Restaurant (South Barre, VT)

One of the whole reasons I started this blog is that, living in Northern New England, we don’t have a lot of options when it comes to ethnic food. Indeed, for some options like “Vietnamese”, “Indian”, and “Cuban” being the most notable, there can literally be hundreds of miles from one restaurant of that ethnicity to the next. This is particularly the case with Indian food; over the entirety of VT, I can count the entire population of Indian restaurants on one hand (and NH, with twice the population, doesn’t have that many more). So, when I actually hear of an Indian restaurant that I haven’t been to before, it’s notable. In this case, it was about a year ago I first heard of Rickie’s Indian Restaurant in South Barre, so when some recent travels ended up with my passing through Barre around dinner time on a Saturday, it was worth my time to stop by the Citgo station in South Barre on Route 14 to try out their Indian food.

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Breakfast at Dishoom (Kings Cross, London, UK)

Sometimes I really enjoy when cuisine takes some interesting voyages to get from its origins to its current state. A good example of this is the concept of the Irani Bombay café. The Irani café concept dates back to the 19th century, when a large wave of Zoroastrian immigration into India resulted in a large number of cafés opening that were welcoming to a good cross-section of society; Sikh dining next to a Hindus and Zoroastrians, with an interesting Indo-Iranian cuisine focusing on chai, fragrant Biryanis (a dish that actually traces back to Iran), omelets, curries, and naans. It’s also, unfortunately, a culinary heritage that’s dying out, with fewer than 30 classic Irani cafés still remaining in Mumbai, and similar number in Hyderabad. Into this scene comes another migration, with British restaurateurs Shamil and Kavi Thakrar who decided to bring the concept to London. The result was Dishoom, a small chain of “Bombay-Style Cafes” (although the Thakrar cousins sold the chain in mid-2017).

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Saffron Indian Grill (Tewksbury, MA)

After a fairly pleasant recent trip to Boston, we decided to take some back roads to get over to Route 3 to go home through Nashua, and decided it would be a good opportunity to stop for lunch, taking us right down Main Street in Tewksbury, MA. This isn’t completely terra incognita for me (you can read my review of the rather nice Vic’s Waffle House from a previous trip through), but I’m not all that familiar with the area, and mostly found myself staring at typical “North of Boston” fare: a lot of chain restaurants with the occasional roast beef or seafood place. But not far down the road from Vic’s we saw a promising place: Saffron Indian Grill.

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Mela (London, UK)

Our next evening in London was a bit of an exploration. We started off by heading to Seven Dials for drinks at Detroit. Despite a name that makes most Americans snicker, it’s actually a rather good cocktail bar, and for bonus points, we got to meet up with Richard Barnett, the author of the most excellent Book of Gin. After Detroit, we decided to do dinner in the area. The immediate Soho/Covent Garden area has rather a few decent Indian places (in particular, we’ve previously enjoyed The Punjab, London’s oldest Indian restaurant, which was booked solid this time). We ended up at Mela, an Indian place on Shaftesbury that has a rather good reputation as well.

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Curry on Crust Desi Pizza (Canton, MI)

Over the 14 or so years I’ve been visiting Canton, MI, it has increasingly becoming a suburb that’s attracting a lot of immigrants, and as a result now has a pretty significant Middle Eastern and Indian population. Along with this, it has picked up a rather large number of restaurants and stores, with some of the most notable growth being in Indian food and groceries (see my 2011 review of Neehee’s, for example). So I’m used to going through strip malls in the area and seeing some new Indian eateries, and this time I was particularly intrigued by one of them: Curry on Crust, which serves "Desi-Style Pizza"

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Rasika (Washington, DC)

Well, my travels to the DC area are always a good excuse for getting together with several of my friends in the area. So when I had a free evening on my visit earlier this month, I called up some friends, and Steve, Allie, Leslie, and I all met up at Rasika in DC’s Penn Quarter. Rasika has been on my hit list for a few years, since it’s a perennial top finisher in most of the local restaurant review guides, getting particularly good marks from Eater DC and the Washington Post. It has a reputation of having the area’s best Indian food, with an emphasis on modern and vibrant interpretations of classic Indian dishes. It’s also been on a lot of other people’s hit lists, since I was completely unable to actually get reservations for our group of four… but they also like to keep a good number of tables available for the walk-in crowd. They very happily gave us a nice table for four in their odd little front room (at some point they expanded into the space next door, and there are two tables sitting in what used to be the entry vestibule for that suite) with the promise that we had to be done and out the door by 7.

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Jeet India (Fairborn, OH)

And no rest for the weary. Coming back from Chicago, I immediately turned around and left on a work trip to Dayton. Dayton’s not a bad place. I particularly like the National Museum of the United States Air Force, since nothing like a few hours of looking at airplans like SR-71s to cheer you up (at least if you are an engineer like me). But, to be honest, Dayton is always a bit of a challenging culinary destination for me, primarily since I mostly seem to end up staying in suburbs like Beavercreek, and I’m really not into places like The Olive Garden. But it’s also not a culinary wasteland. I actually rather like The Pine Club, which is one of those olde schoole steak houses that still seems to be stuck at some point in the 1960s. And, as I mentioned before in my review of Maharajah of Dayton, thriving Indian community (primarily Punjabi), and as a result, quite a few decent Indian restaurants, although most of them seem to focus on buffets. But a few of them do indeed have some rather good food, and from two visits there, I can say that Jeet is one of the better ones.

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Maharajah of Dayton (Beavercreek, OH)

A few weeks ago, my work travels had me traveling for an off-site meeting near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, so my coworker and I found ourselves staying a night at the Hilton Garden Inn in Beavercreek, Ohio, a modest suburb of Dayton. This is the kind of situation that happens to me a lot, primarily due to my mix of (mostly-governmental) clients: I find myself stuck, often without a rental car, in a suburb outside of a non-major metro area, with few options aside from the hotel’s on-site restaurant, or a loooong walk to someplace only marginally better (like an Olive Garden). This looked to be the case for Beavercreek as well, but as we were pulling into the hotel, I noticed an Indian place in the adjacent strip mall, called Maharajah of Dayton. I also then remember that the Dayton area actually has a fairly large Indian population (indeed, there’s actually a fairly substantial Hindu temple there), so I decided it was worth checking out.

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Neehee’s Indian Vegetarian Street Food (Canton, MI)

You know, every time we go visit Carol’s family in Canton, MI, I always find that the western part of the metro areas has someplace interesting to try that I didn’t notice before. One time, it was the halal butcher shop called Mr. Goat (which I didn’t review, since it was just a butcher shop, and now it’s moved). Another time, I discovered that the little Japanese noodle shop, Matsu Chan, was actually really good. Another time, it was Bode’s Corned Beef House”. This time, it was a place in a strip mall on Ford Road called “Neehee’s Indian Vegetarian Street Food”. Well, we had been through enough, um, Midwestern cuisine that we were craving something a little spicy, and decided to give it a try…

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Amaya (Knightsbridge, London, UK)

On last month’s trip to London, we decided that at least one fancy dinner with my brother and sister-in-law was in order, and my brother got reservations at Amaya, an Indian place in Knightbridge. Indian food in London has gotten to be almost a cliche, with all sort of little takeaway curry shops open serving out such dishes as Chicken Tikka Masala and various Baltis. But there are a few places that really stand out from the crowd, including The Punjab (in Covent Garden, one of London’s oldest Indian restaurants), and the more recent efforts of Masala World (of which Amaya is one).

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