The Hindi term for obsession is “chaska.” And we quickly became obsessed with the food and atmosphere of Cranston’s new modern Indian restaurant. Bright and colorful with a clear view of the kitchen, where all five chefs were busy at their stations, Chaska creates a friendly, open atmosphere for fine dining.
Sit near the kitchen window and watch them bake their bread and prepare kebabs and other globally-inspired delights that are rooted in the flavors of India.
We started with the garlic and cilantro nan ($5), served piping hot and perfectly seasoned. We watched a couple at a nearby table eating what has to be the ultimate flatbread, topped with kerela pepper-steak, blue cheese, caramelized onions, and arugula ($14) and decided to try that on our next visit.
There are many varieties of breads with toppings ranging from chicken to seafood, cheese, vegetables, and spices I couldn’t pronounce.
Large plates (and they are large) range start at $18 for home-style chicken curry to a variety of vegetarian dishes, served with basmati white or brown rice. The Punjabi Gobhi (roasted cauliflower, green peas and fenugreek looked interesting).
Grilled lamb chops with roasted vegetables and garlic yogurt are $28. We watched them taken off the spit and artistically arranged on a plate, looking too good to eat. Salmon, cod chicken and pepper steak accounted for other large plates.
We decided on three small plates for the two of us, and the quantity proved to be just enough. The presentation of the dishes and the quality of the food was superior.
First was the polenta crusted calamari, tender squid served with curry leaves, mustard seeds and finely chopped caramelized onions, with a sauce to die for. The portion was most generous for $13.
Next was pundina scallops, four huge sea scallops served with mint, green chili and a charred tomato coulis with a little bite ($16). We dipped the leftover calamari in the remaining sauce, which was not to be wasted.
Last was the dishoom lamb boti kabob, two good-size pieces, accompanied by a roasted garlic yogurt, greens, and tabbouleh ($14). We just couldn’t go to an Indian restaurant without eating lamb.
While not a huge menu, there are enough items that will bring us back many times. We skipped the bar this time, but the drink menu looked very tempting.
Chaska is a perfect addition to the growing number of specialty restaurants in Garden City, making it a popular destination for fine dining fans. They are located at 16 Midway Road; their telephone number is 537-7900 or visit www.chaska-usa.com.