Salt and Pepper: Voyage to India
Did the restaurateur kill them with kindness?
Name: Rasoi of India
Payment: Cash, Credit
Alcohol: Beer, Wine
Location: 14214-S Centreville Square, Centreville, VA 22121
Hours of Operation: Sunday-Saturday: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
When I walked into the restaurant the first thing I noticed aside from the soft Punjabi music in the background, was the buffet counter about three feet from the door. I'm glad it caught my attention because if it hadn't, I might have walked out the door.
After I placed my order I sat down at a table and began to look around. The music was coming from a flat-screen TV on an otherwise bare wall. Aside from two beautiful pictures on an adjacent wall, there were no decorations at all. The tables were simply decorated with plates and silverware. Aside from that, the restaurant was void of any personality. The painted cement floor was impeccably clean, but it was worn and there were patches where the color had chipped off. If you dined in the restaurant the only thing you would really have to look at would be the buffet or the huge industrial kitchen equipment behind it.
I decided to get carry-out, so I made my way to the counter at the back of the restaurant. The man who took my order was incredibly friendly. He made sure that I understood what I was ordering, but it got to the point where he was a bit too helpful. When I told him I wanted to order vegetable samosas he asked me if I wanted just one piece or an order (which comes with three). I was a bit taken aback since that's never happened and told him I wanted an order— just the way it was written on the menu.
By the time I got home the paper bag with the samosas was almost transparent with grease, but when I ate them they were perfectly cooked, well seasoned, and, thankfully, not the least bit oily. The pastry dough was buttery and flaky. I liked it, but would have enjoyed it more if there were more than just a few chickpeas in it.
For the main dish I ordered the chicken curry. I ordered it spicy, which was probably a mistake. It was the hottest thing I've eaten in ages. That being said, it was also delicious. The curry sauce was hot, but was seasoned with neutral spices and was mildly sweet. The chicken was tender and slightly less spicy than the sauce. I ordered it with naan instead of rice. The bread was airy and slightly chewy, but lacked much flavor. The dish also came with a typical side salad which was just OK.
I enjoyed the food, the staff was nice and the restaurant was clean. I would probably come back and do takeout again.
Once again, I find myself walking into an empty restaurant. I stare at the buffet as I head toward the counter to order my food— food that looks surprisingly good for a restaurant with no patrons. Luckily, I already knew what I wanted before coming, thanks to their online menu, which by the way, everyone should have.
So standing at the front, I ordered the chicken tikki masala. They tell me it comes with naan (bread) and a choice of veggies or rice. I went for the rice.
Next, they proceeded to ask me a series of random questions, such as how I found the place. I’m standing there thinking, " OK, if you're asking me all these questions? Who’s making my food?"
Eventually, one man heads toward the back; this has me confident I will eventually walk out with an order.
I must say, they are certainly very friendly, maybe a little too friendly. But hey, I guess if you want to eat out, but all your friends are busy, this might not be a bad place to go alone and still have little dinner conversation—or a lot of conversation.
After about 10 minutes of waiting and my attention span quickly waning, I asked if they would not mind changing my order to takeout.
While they were very nice, I don’t think I could enjoy my food with them talking at me. Yes not to me, but at me because as I didn’t have to answer half their questions before they moved on to talk of something else.
Finally, the food is ready and I embark on my journey home. Moments after I pull out of the parking lot, my car fills with the smell of the food. Hunger and weakness set in, so I pop open the bag, and realized they didn’t give me naan. Oh well, not going back for that.
I try the chicken, and it is fantastic. Good cuts of meat, the spice has a kick, but wasn't be overwhelming, even for those who aren't fans of an abundance of spices. When I get home I put the whole meal together. The rice was nothing impressive, but the blandness was easily rectified with the sauce from the masala.
All in all, the place was small, very clean and the staff was more than friendly. I would be interested in going back to try out the buffet. But perhaps with a large group of people with me.