Restaurant Review by DON FOWLER Looking out the window of Dr. Frankel's waiting room, I noticed this tiny Indian restaurant across the street at 745 Reservoir Ave in Cranston. Inquiring about Chennai Express on social media, I learned that patrons were
Looking out the window of Dr. Frankel’s waiting room, I noticed this tiny Indian restaurant across the street at 745 Reservoir Ave in Cranston.
Inquiring about Chennai Express on social media, I learned that patrons were giving it high ratings as “truly authentic Indian food.”
We paid a visit last week, eating at one of five tables in the small dining room. One of the three owners said that most of their business was takeout and delivery.
We knew we were in the right place when the two other parties appeared to be Indian. They had ordered some interesting and unfamiliar appetizers, which they were happy to explain to us.
Bottled water was on the table, along with an extensive menu that included traditional Indian fare, along with Indo-Chinese, South Indian, vegetarian, seafood, and goat entrees.
Chennai carries an extensive vegetarian menu and has options for those who practice Jainism, which is a religion that forbids any food that harms living beings.
Vegetarian appetizers range from Cut Mirchi (chili battered and deep fried) at $7.99 to Paneer 65 (crisp fried paneer-cheese- tossed in a spicy masala) at $12.99.
Vegetarian entrees range from Dal Tadka (lentils cooked with fresh spices) at $11.99 to a variety of paneer dishes cooked with everything from spinach to cheese at $12.99.
From a number of lamb entrees, I chose Lamb Biryani ($14.49) served differently – in a large bowl – from biryani I have had in other Indian restaurants.
Tender cooked pieces of lamb were marinated and spiced and slow-cooked with an aromatic basmati rice, garnished with greens, onion, and a hard boiled egg, with gravy and a cucumber dressing on the side.
Two bits of advice. Unless you have a huge appetite, plan on bringing a big portion home for the next day. Many of the entrees come mild, medium and hot. Unlike a number of ethnic restaurants, they mean what they say. Their medium may seem hotter than our medium.
Joyce chose the Chennai Shrimp Curry ($14.99), shrimp cooked with the chef’s special masala with a side of rice. She found it delicious and had enough for the next day.
We ordered their Garlic Nan ($3.49), which was served hot and tasty.
On our next visit, I plan to order one of four goat entrees (all at $14.99). A popular Indian restaurant on the East Side has taken goat off the menu due to lack of interest, but our waiter said they get many calls for it. Cooked properly, goat is delicious.
Chennai is a seaport town in India. It has emigrated to Cranston, making a fine addition to the city’s restaurant scene.
To order takeout or delivery, make reservations, or use their catering services, call 946-0150. Check them out on line at chenniaexpressri.com.