i've been meaning to post about roti boti since coming back from mexico and wanting nothing but to eat at roti boti for about a week. no, roti boti isn't mexican -- it's pakistani, i think, and some regional type of cooking at that. in fact i can't fathom the connection between roti boti and mexico -- maybe one of you can figure it out and tell me.
tonight i was very lucky to find them with a new dish -- pureed and sauteed poppy seed leaves. they are dark green, darker than spinach, and tasting somewhat like spinach but faintly bitter in a radishy way. they are cooked spicy -- but not deadly so. the guy behind the counter told me (lucky me!) that i was the first customer for it.
it absolutely rocked.
as with everything coming from roti boti, the spices and cooking bring out the flavors and contrasts in the basic ingredients of the dish -- sure, things are heavily spiced and very oily, but nothing is dulled or cardamommed or cinnamoned into uninterestingness.
i also had some dal (soupy, with a deep, nutty taste, again you tasted the beans first, the spices second) and palak chicken (chicken with spinach -- this has been consistently good as of late).
it was once a chowhound fave but has been neglected on our board for at least a year or so. yet they seem to be as good as ever.
some things you should know: the food is quite oily so you have to like that kind of thing (you can always eat slowly and eat less if you're worried about feeling too full). the decor is pretty bad and they usually have the stereo on with loud videos. the rice and the roti (which here are white bread nans) are very good. the lamb kebabs, rival anything of the sort i've had -- absolutely fabulous. also, if you just go by and look in, especially at roti boti 1, you might think it's an intimidating place that doesn't welcome non-asians or women alone, but it's completely fine.
two locations in astoria (same food, roti boti 2 has somewhat more innocuous decor)
Roti boti 21st near Astoria Blvd
Roti Boti 2 on 27-09 21 St