Adrak 2 brings its excellent Indian cuisine to Westerly
For the longest time, I'd been saying the one thing the Westerly food scene still needs is an Indian restaurant.
Then, in early November, while driving slowly by the old Trattoria Longo spot on Canal Street across from the Amtrak station, I saw that my dream had come true: Adrak 2 had opened.
It's an understatement to say I've since become a repeat customer. In fact, considering how many times I've been there and the fact that it's only been open two months, I believe I'm averaging 1.5 visits per week.
What's most noteworthy to me is how distinct the flavors in each meal are. Whether it be cardamom, coriander, cumin or curry, each spice stands out with every bite.
The Adrak menu, available in take-out form and in full on the restaurant’s website, is a lengthy offering, broken up into a number of sections, including appetizers, chicken delicacies, lamb and goat, seafood and vegetarian dishes.
There are also a number of tandoor meats, biryani rice dishes, tandoor breads and a kids menu (includes chicken nuggets, and quesadillas, both priced at $4.99).
On the starters list, the vegetable samosas are a sure bet: two plump, doughy and fried turnovers, stuffed full with potatoes and green peas, and mildly spiced ($4.99). Several tandoor breads also make for good starters or dipping compliments to a main meal.
I like the onion kulcha, leavened bread filled with onion, pepper, and cilantro ($3.99), and garlic or plain naan ($1.99 or $3.50).
I've also tried the chili paneer appetizer ($12.99), which consists of paneer cheese coated in a spiced batter, deep-fried, and then served in a sauce with a mix of peppers and onions. The cheese in this dish is tasty, but the red sauce it comes in, which is on the gelatinous side, was less appealing.
For vegetarians, there's also the "Gobi 65" spiced and deep-fried cauliflower florets ($7.99). "Chicken 65" consists of marinated chicken pieces seasoned with Indian spices ($7.99).
The longest section of the menu is the vegetarian main course list, and, in my opinion, it's where you'll find some of the best offerings. When I do take-out from Adrak 2, I like to get a smorgasbord of these options and pile them high on a bed of basmati rice.
Navratan korma ($13.99) includes fresh vegetables — they seem to range based on availability; I've had squashes, carrots, and peppers — cooked in an almond-cashew sauce that's somewhat creamy and a little spicy. (Note: you can request that your dish come prepared mild, medium, or hot.)
Malai kofta is a dish I sometimes get at Indian restaurants when I'm trying to cut back on my meat intake but still want something substantial. But at certain places these vegetarian meatballs can taste a little bit like a second tier option (too dense, too dry, and not enough flavor).
At Adrak, however, the malai kofta ($12.99) is a must try for vegetarians. The balls are made of grated veggies, paneer, and nuts, all packed together in oblong balls and deep-fried. Four come in a meal in a rich cream sauce that pairs nicely with naan or even a leftover samosa for dipping.
Bhinidi masala ($12.99) is a good option for someone who wants a meal less creamy and rich. It consists of sliced okra and onion cooked in a spiced and smoky tomato sauce.
Daal Tadka ($11.99) is another less rich option. It's a yellow lentil dish, made with cooked onion, ginger, garlic, ghee butter and Indian spices.
I also recommend the chicken saag ($13.99), which comes with chunks of chicken meat, cooked in a creamy spinach masala curry sauce. The chicken, while nicely flavored, could be a little moister. The sauce is impeccable and contains a nice kick.
The vibe at Adrak 2 is sophisticated and stylish but by no means formal or pretentious. The color scheme is a mix of dark maroon and mustard. Indian art and photos adorn the walls of a rather expansive dining area. There's also a good sized bar with television screens and color-changing lights (!).
Service has consistently been prompt, friendly and very accommodating. Street parking in downtown Westerly has gotten pretty tight on Friday and Saturday nights in recent years. Fortunately, there is a parking lot in the back of Adrak 2.
And, on one final note, you might be asking yourself, "What about Adrak 1?" According to the restaurant's website, a second location is coming soon to the South County Commons in South Kingstown, R.I., and it will be simply titled "Adrak."
12 Canal St., Westerly, R.I.
Food type: Indian
Service: Friendly and accommodating
Hours: Dinner, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. daily; extended bar Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m.; buffet, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday ($10.99)
Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover
Handicapped access: Front entrance at sidewalk level; dining area is navigable by wheelchair.
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