Sherman's Food Adventures: Raga


As much as I rave about the Indian food in Surrey, I give very little attention to it in Vancouver.  Well, that is partly due to my inherent biases.  Many of the Indian restaurants outside of Surrey and Main Street cater to the general population.  Hence, the spice level can be quite mild even when requesting "spicy".  Hey, I get it.  I've said it before numerous times - a restaurant is not in the business of appealing to a small percentage of diners.  Rather, to turn a profit (and to stay in business), they must produce food that the locals want to eat.  So for those who complain that "it's not authentic" or "this is a poor excuse for <insert cuisine> food", please keep in mind they are probably not catering to you. 

And that's what I kept in the back of my mind when I joined Costanza and Elaine for eats at Raga out on Broadway.  We started with an order of Samosas served with coriander and tamarind chutneys.  These were fried up really crunchy while not greasy.  The potato and pea filling was flavourful with a touch of spice.  However, the chutneys were the star of the show.  For our second appie, we had the Fish Pakora which were moist on the inside and slightly crisp on the outside.  They were spicy with a good amount of salt as well.  We liked how the batter was light in relation to the piece of fish.

Because Costanza is such a fan of Sienfeld (really, go figure...), we had to order the Mulligatawny Soup.  For some reason or another, this was not like any version of Mulligatawny we've ever had.  This one tasted predominantly of lemon and did not exhibit any thickness or classic flavours.  It was essentially a thin, lemon soup with pieces of dry chicken.  Suffice to say, we didn't like this version.  No soup for us!  Off to the mains, we had the classic Butter Chicken which was more tomatoey than creamy.  Although we asked for medium, it was extremely mild, yet salty at the same time.  The large chunks of chicken were very moist and overall, the butter chicken was decent with all things considered.

Next up was the Fish Korma which was smooth, nutty and mild. Although the fish was nicely prepared, the sauce was rather bland (yes I realize that it shouldn't be super-charged flavourful, but it was too mild even for what it is).  It was a bit too creamy and heavy where we could only eat a little bit of it.  Probably our favourite curry of the bunch was the Prawn Curry which had a good level of spice.  There was also a pleasant tang as well as a wonderful zestiness.  The prawns were a bit overcooked though being slightly rubbery. We realize that prawns are expensive, but this dish was mostly sauce with limited ingredients.

Our order of Naan was a little pale for the most part.  There was some nice charring on some of the edges, but we would've liked a bit more uniformly.  With that being said, the naan had a nice chewy texture.  The accompanying side of basmati rice was prepared properly being chewy and on the drier side which was perfect for being sauced. Our last savoury dish was a half order of the Tandoori Chicken.  Surprisingly, not only was the dark meat moist, the white meat was equally so.  In addition to be well-marinated, the chicken exhibited a noticeable smokiness which was welcomed.  A little more charring on the outside was one thing we would've liked to see.

We decided to share 3 desserts including the Rasmalai, Kheer and Kulfi Faluda.  They were almost uniform in colour and appearance, they shared many characteristics.  All three had milk, pistachios and almonds which made them milky sweet with a nutty accent.  The Kulfi differed since there was a noticeable cardamom hit.  Honestly, it was hard to have a lasting impression when all of them tasted roughly the same.  Not their fault, we just happened to order them.  In general, we found the food at Raga to be decent, considering it's located in Fairview (not exactly the hotbed of Indian food). I personally like Indian food in Surrey more, but then again, not everyone goes out to Surrey for food either. Moreover, the prices are on the higher side, but that is again a reflection of its location and operating costs.

The Good:
- Friendly people
- Acceptable eats for its location
- Comfy dining space

The Bad:
- Pricey
- Generally mild flavours but salty at the same time

Raga Restaurant on Urbanspoon


LotusRapper said...

So good to see The Raga still thriving all these years. I first started going there in the mid/late '80s during university, after an East Indian classmate introduced me to the restaurant. Back in the days, they had a $6.99 AYCE lunch (which I took advantage of frequently, along with Uncle Willy's down the road), unthinkable price these days !

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