My wife: "Let's have Indian food for dinner."
My mom: "Do you know of anyplace that serves it?"
Me: "Are you kidding? Oak Tree Road is CHOCK FULL of Indian restaurants."
We wandered for quite a while, because it's Monday and many restaurants are closed on Mondays. We ended up at Rasoi mostly because we remembered when it used to be the Metro Diner.
We came in at 6:00 and the place was busy but not overflowing -- there was parking in the lot, it was a good sign. We were the only non-Indians in the entire place, the whole time we were there -- also a very good sign.
We ordered samosas, aloo gobi, chana saag, lamb sheekh kebab, chicken biryani, rice, mango lassi, rasmalai and kheer -- tried to stay with "normal" food since my mother and sister had never had Indian food.
There were the usual lentil crackers on the table, very hot with black pepper (I loved them, my mother and sister not so much). Oddly, the tamarind sauce was spicy but the green coriander sauce was not. There was also a small dish of chilies in vinegar.
The food was very well-spiced but not at all hot. The sheekh kebab was much better when lemon was squeezed on it; the aloo gobi was very tasty but as my sister said, "it's a side of vegetables". The biryani was very rich and had lots of onions in it, and the aloo gobi was the hit of the night -- warm and fragrant.
The samosas were a bit greasy, but very, very tasty. I wanted it a bit hotter, but then again I like things hot. A hit of pepper vinegar and I was good to go.
The rasmalai were very good, light and airy instead of dense, and swimming in cardamom-flavoured condensed milk. They had run out of kheer by the time we ordered it, so they gave us kulfi faloudeh (rosewater ice cream with basil seeds and syrup) at the lower price of the kheer. It was very, very good, though not exactly the right option for a cold night.
The service was fantastic -- water was topped-up constantly, we had only to have the appearance of fidgeting and two waiters came up to see to our wants, and the pace was good (though the kebab came out 20 minutes before the stews and the biryani).
Total bill was $76, plus tip was $90, for four people who stuffed themselves to the gills.
When we left, there was a line out the door and not a spot to be had in the lot. We would definitely go there again -- it was nice, relaxing and very tasty.
1567 Oak Tree Road (one block east of Wood Ave.)
Iselin, NJ 08830
1 (732) 549 88 17