My recent lunch at Rangoli exceeded my expectations. I knew it’d be good – I had been there several years ago, and I love Vij’s next door, as well as Vij’s Railway Express food truck. But I I was surprised at just how great it was.
Rangoli is the bistro equivalent of Vij’s. It has a smaller, less expensive menu, but just as much flavour and quality. If I could change one thing, it’d be to lower the price point slightly, but the food is definitely worth it.
Rangoli has a lovely little covered patio with a greenhouse feel due to all the glass – great for food photography which makes me a happy camper. Also, I liked their tableware, cutlery, etc.
The bottomless chai tea was delicious as always ($2.50). Although I do wish it were slightly less sweet, and a tad less hot. I actually poured some of my water in it to be able to drink it – strange, but true.
My friend and I shared the Split Pea, Lentil and Spinach Mash (with mogo fries and Bengali curry). Now, I had no idea that’s what we were ordering. We missed it on the menu when placing the order (I was simply looking for “cassava fries”) and then noticed a table nearby eating them. We immediately flagged down the server and asked for our own. I’ve had the cassava fries before at the food truck and at Vij’s, and I simply couldn’t not have them. They’re these massive fries made from the cassava/yucca root. They’re mashed potato soft on the inside, and crispy on the outside. And best of all, they’re gluten-free (or at least I assume they were as that was the case when I previously had them). So, I had no idea that I was dipping them in a lentil mash (which I typically wouldn’t eat). But it was quite delicious. And what’s a little bit harder to tell from the picture is that there fries are surrounded by a ring of Bengali curry. So you get two opportunities to dip – curry and mash – which is fantastic. Some of the fries soak in the curry and are all the more delicious for it. The mash was very tasty. This appetizer was a definite hit, although a bit pricey at $12.
My friend also had the Cauliflower, Spinach, Onion and Potato Pakoras (with daal). I sampled the daal – very nice mesh of flavours. And my friend quite liked the crispy pakoras.
The star of the meal was the Beef Short Ribs in Kalonji Curry (with spicy pickled vegetables, rice and naan) - $15. Wow. Some of the best short ribs I’ve ever had. So fatty, tender and flavorful. And the kalonji curry was just perfect – complex flavours without packing too much heat – phenomenal. And I love all things pickled, so I enjoyed the pickled veg side.
I was worried that the food would be too spicy. It’s not that I can’t handle the heat, I simply prefer the heat to not overpower the various flavours. In the past, I’ve found a lot of Vij’s food to almost be spicy for the sake of being spicy. Thankfully, that was not the case whatsoever with my meal at Rangoli. Everything was the perfect level of spiciness (at least for my palate), and the depth of flavours was impressive.
Service was good – there when you needed it, not when you didn’t, friendly without being intrusive. I don’t think there was much in the way of ambiance, but again, I loved the greenhouse feel, so I found the space very peaceful. The tables are packed together quite closely though, so that may not be to everyone’s liking.
Overall, I am very pleased with my experience at Rangoli. Superb flavours, terrific execution, attractive plating, good service, and pleasant environment.