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MTL Resto - Rasoi Turns One

From the moment you walk into Rasoi , St.Henri's  noted ‘updated Indian’ dining spot,  you’re bathed in a warm kaleidoscope of light...


From the moment you walk into Rasoi, St.Henri's noted ‘updated Indian’ dining spot, you’re bathed in a warm kaleidoscope of light coming from the mesh fixtures hanging in the corners of the restaurant. On the left, a red brick wall leads to an eye-catching wood sculpture of the ancient Indian god Ganesh. What makes this place unique is that, mixed in with the traditional Indian decor, is a nod to modernity with a well stocked back-lit bar and an embossed wood armoire filled with champagnes and liquors. For colour there’s the bright paisley-inspired mural on the ceiling, lending a warm and inviting ambience to the whole room, and setting the scene for the evening.

The reason for the gathering was a celebratory dinner, and what better way than to pull out all the stops and throw a Bollywood-themed 1-year anniversary party to mark their rise as the city's hippest Indian tapas style restaurant.  I had heard their cuisine was authentic with a modern twist, and so was eager to savour some novel flavour combinations. 


Truth be told, my mouth started watering the moment the first appetizer hit the table - printed craft paper filled with golden brown onion bhajii fritters. The crispy brown outside hid a fluffy, salty onion-laced interior. It was fried Nirvana and so delicious that I didn’t even need the dipping sauces that came alongside. Following the fritters closely were  “street cart” spring rolls, which had a nice crisp shell but which seemed to skew more toward Thai influence than Indian.


Next up was the fig and Paneer naan pizza, and while it was a beautiful creation to behold I was skeptical about the taste as I wasn’t yet familiar with figs as an ingredient in anything whatsoever. Well let’s just say this feeling didn’t last very long as I was officially converted with a first salty/sweet bite of the paneer cheese together with the delicate, thinly sliced figs. A bit random with the blatant Italian reference, but delicious nonetheless.


Rounding off the meal were a trio of Indian specialties- butter chicken, goat Vindaloo and Channa Masala. The star of these traditional dishes was the goat, which was fall-off-the bone tender and served clay pot style in a fiery curry sauce. Although Vindaloo is traditionally very spicy, this had just the right amount of heat. A side of Naan bread helped cool my mouth down in between bites of the delicious Channa Masala, a citrusy vegetarian dish with chickpeas, and a wonderful counterbalance to the heat from the goat. While the butter chicken was tamer compared to the other dishes, it remains a great entry point for Indian cuisine novices.


On the whole, their dishes are authentic, with updated options like the bajji fritters and naan pizza showing creativity, and the willingness to experiment across borders. While for some places, turning one is a chance for an under-performing room to turn things around and have a shot at going the distance, and for others, it's the point at which they've truly ironed out all of the creases.  For Rasoi, it's simply an acknowledgement of their maturity to embrace what sets them apart, and to keep things fresh and vibrant for a while to come.


RASOI
3459, rue Notre-Dame O.
Montreal
(514) 544-9866


Reese De Luca

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