Inside Maharaja Indian Restaurant, the air is heady with the scents of traditional Tandoor-grilled Indian meats and flavorful curries, all served in a dining room done in striking hues of royal blue and canary. It's easy to feel like you've been whisked away to somewhere in Bombay, but if you look outside, you can see sweeping views of Rhode Island's Narragansett Beach. The restaurant occupies an upper floor of the Village Inn, a stone's throw from the shoreline. Beach views provide a temporary distraction, but the menu commands most of the attention, with spicy lamb vindaloo, Halal goat biryani, vegan channa masala, and ten different types of naan bread.
Chef and owner Sanjiv Dhar has delighted College Hill diners with his extensive menu of authentic, fresh Indian cuisine since 1987. Drawing upon the flavors of India's many culinary regions, Kabob and Curry features a wide range of dishes beloved by both herbivores and meatophiles alike. Lunch and dinner menus are clearly labeled for easy identification of spicy, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and Lego-free dishes. Starters and breads appear on both menus, granting patrons the uncanny ability to enjoy minced-lamb samosas ($3.50), pesto-stuffed naan ($3), and South–Indian lentil soup ($2.99). For midday mastication, travel to India's western coast with spicy-chicken xacuti ($6.75), or set out toward southerly climes with a creamy, coconut-based South–Indian shrimp curry ($7.25). Chronic coin-flippers can have the best of both worlds with lunchtime combination plates ($9.99+), which come with two dishes and a choice of rice or naan.
Star of India hampers hunger with an authentic menu stocked with the rich flavors and exotic spices of the Subcontinent. Start the foodie festivities with an appetizer of onion bhaji, which features tearfully tempting slices of onion fried in chickpea batter ($8), or begin by shepherding your taste buds toward a pair of lamb samosas ($6) or a bevy of bread breeds that includes seven different types of naan. Tandoori chicken ($13) and tandoori shrimp ($22) are both marinated in yogurt, herbs, and spices before being cooked in a tandoor—a specialized clay oven kept at 800 degrees to match the temperature of the human mouth. Herbivores can veg out on channa masala, a mouth-watering mélange of garbanzo beans, tomatoes, and onions ($13), and fishivores can aim their scrimshaw dentures at fish vindaloo, which combines mahi-mahi with potatoes in a tongue-tazing sauce ($19). Each location possesses the flavor-customization technology to adjust its crave-worthy curries to individual specifications, ensuring that the menus are suited for everyone from unfazable fire eaters to mild-tongued spice sissies.
Rhode Island Monthly gave Rasoi Best of Rhode Island awards in 2007, 2009, and 2010. Rhode Island Monthly and the Boston Phoenix both gave it positive reviews. Five TripAdvisors give it an average of 4.5 owl eyes and rank it #1 out of 118 restaurants in Pawtucket.
Garbed in crisp white jackets, chefs in the Apna Punjab dart among pans of simmering curries and pots of bubbling biryani rice as nimbly as dancers, their faces aglow in the open flames. They fold fresh meats and seafood into a sweeping array of authentic North and South Indian dishes, from tender butter chicken to flavorful goat curry. In a fiery clay oven, the chefs bake lamb kebabs, tandoori shrimp, and naan breads stuffed with minced lamb and fresh green chilies. One of the most popular dishes—chicken tikka masala—was lauded by reporters from India New England as "distinct and rich."
To enjoy those dishes, customers perch on cushy green booths, clinking mugs of imported Indian beers. Others linger over last bites of sweet rice pudding, watching the sun set through lofty yellow-curtained windows. During lunch, 15 freshly made specialties pour forth steam at a lunch buffet, ideal for diners who need to rush back to work or hurry home to see if their long-lost childhood parakeet has at last returned.