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Raagini Indian Restaurant review

An assorted kebab platter is ideal for sharing

An assorted kebab platter is ideal for sharing at Raagini Indian Restaurant in Baldwin. Credit: Jeremy Bales

Raagini Indian Restaurant has a quirky charm all its own. So what if the colorful murals set into the arches along the top of one wall are holdovers from a departed Greek restaurant? Somehow, they go well with the hand-carved Indian wood sculptures lining the wall opposite. And if the space is narrow, it's also cozy. You may end up feeling as if you're eating in the home of someone who cares about feeding you well -- and attentively.

Consider starting with a shared assorted kebab platter. Chicken tikka (spice-marinated tandoor-roasted boneless chicken), seekh kebab (minced lamb, skewered, tandoor-grilled and sliced) and malai kebab (chicken marinated in creamy almond sauce and roasted) are attractively arranged in rows, with everything moist, knowingly spiced. In that same league are tandoori chicken wings, meaty and crimson. Big batter-fried garlic shrimp come out lightly crisp, plated with a red sweet-and-sour sauce that carries a subtle kick. In comparison, Bombay crabcakes seem wan.

There's nuance in a goat curry, ordered medium spicy and served exactly so. Goat, as well as chicken, lamb, shrimp or vegetables, may also be had vindaloo-style, in a sweet and sour vinegar-chili sauce. One night, vindaloo chicken, ordered extra spicy, turns out tamer than expected. Even so, the dish has vibrancy. An all-out success is lamb jhalfrezi, tender cubes of meat bathed in a thick vegetable-enriched gravy with just the right spark. On the milder side is shrimp korma, in a creamy almond sauce that's pleasingly rich, as is the lush saag paneer, spinach laced with cubes of Indian cheese. Kadai shrimp, an Indian take on a Pakistani curry, is hearty and nuanced. From the tandoor oven comes fish tikka, chunks of salmon marinated in a yogurt sauce before being tandoor-roasted to spicy succulence.

It would be unthinkable not to get at least one tandoor-baked bread. Onion kulcha, pillowy and slightly sweet, is a seductive choice, as is alu paratha, flaky whole-wheat bread stuffed with seasoned potatoes. Think of it as a flat Indian-style knish.

To conclude, there's the milky rice pudding known as kheer. And gulab jamun, fried cheese balls in a rosewater syrup. Both are amply portioned but will leave you wanting more.


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