Roti Grill: Off into the Fast, Hot, Spicy Unknown
We Texans love our food hot and spicy, so it's somewhat surprising that we haven't taken to Indian cuisine as much as some other ethnic dishes as sushi or Kung Pao chicken. But on further reflection, we are probably overwhelmed by the staggering parade of unfamiliar dishes with hard-to-pronounce names such as allo baingan, khadi pakoda, or mutter paneer masala.
Like most people, we tend to go with what we know, which explains why there is a Tex-Mex restaurant on practically every street corner in Dallas, while there are comparatively few Indian establishments. However, my quest for fire knows no bounds, and since my appreciation of Indian food has grown recently, I decided to investigate Roti Grill.
First, know before you go that Roti Grill is set up on the fast-casual format, which means you order at the counter when you enter, then choose a seat and wait while the food is soon brought to your table. The Plano location also features a lunch buffet, if you're looking for value, and you'll see it set up along one wall of the cheery but rather Spartan interior. The lady taking orders at the register was quite cheerful as well, doing the little things right like repeating my order back to me to make sure she had gotten it correct.
Looking over the menu, I noticed a surprising term, Two Step, and immediately wondered what a Western dance was doing on the menu of an Indian restaurant. Turns out, it's a method for ordering. Simply select one item from step one, such as meat, vegetables, or paneer (homemade cheese), then in step two you pair it with a sauce such as masala or balti, and you have your meal. On this occasion, I was in the mood for vindaloo, that marvelously spicy sauce from Goa, the former Portuguese colony on India's west coast, and so I ordered it with lamb.
The lamb was stewed and proved quite tender, but I realized I had erred when ordering spice levels. Entrees at Roti can be ordered to suit your preferred level of heat, from medium to phall (extra, extra hot), but I had specified hot for the vindaloo. As I took a bite, I realized that I had erred on the side of caution and should have ordered extra hot instead, but since the dish was otherwise flavorful and I was too hungry to wait, I didn't send it back. On my next visit, I ordered the Chili Chicken (chicken in spicy chili sauce) extra hot, and this was much more to my liking, as the increased heat brought out all the other spices in the dish. Both dishes were quite excellent, and I really enjoyed the cloud-like naan bread (very like a Yorkshire pudding and perfect for sopping up juices) and the crispy papadum (think Indian tostada and you've got the right idea). On both occasions, I boxed up both dishes for later consumption, and they proved even better the next day.
On both my visits, the employees really seemed to be enjoying their jobs, always a good sign. Their warm welcome will help ensure that I will return to Roti Grill, for I'm a true Texan, and we Texans love our spice.
6509 W Park Boulevard
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