Those of us who love lesser-known restaurants get a bit excited when, in response to the question of where a particular dining spot is located, get the response "Good luck finding the place." And does this ever apply to an obscure vegetarian Indian restaurant north of Boston, as Ritu Ki Rasoi in Burlington is not a place you will ever find by accident, that is, unless you enjoy driving behind auto parts stores for no particular reason. Indeed, this bare-bones eatery is one of the most "hidden" of all the hidden restaurants reviewed within this site, and also one of the most unique as well.
Ritu Ki Rasoi is, as previously stated, situated behind an auto parts store along Route 3A, toward the back of the sprawling brick building that contains the auto shop as well as other businesses. The interior of the restaurant is a bit spartan, with a counter area and a few tables in the room to the left and a larger dining area where buffets are held to the right. The warehouse-type structure in which Ritu Ki Rasoi resides shows itself rather prominently within the restaurant's space, with one wall in the buffet room being made of cement and the floors being rock-hard, causing a bit of a noise problem depending on how crowded the place is. The left-hand room seems just a tad more welcoming (especially with one of its tables having cloth-covered bench seats allowing for a larger group to eat together), while the right-hand buffet room almost has an echoey beer hall vibe to it.
Because it is a place that leans toward Southern Indian fare, Ritu Ki Rasoi is a good spot to go to if you like dosas (rice and lentil crepes) and uttapams (rice and lentil pancakes), but there is much more to try here, especially if you opt for the lunch buffet. Some of the items available at the buffet (depending on the day) including a buttery and nicely-textured tadka daal (lentil soup), a smooth and similarly buttery palak paneer (spinach and Indian cottage cheese), deep-fried cheese bites that are not unlike Italian arancini, an earthy mushroom matar (mushrooms with peas in a spicy sauce), a simple yet flavorful baigan bharta (mashed eggplant with spices), a crispy snack called kalami vada (deep-fried flour with mint inside), chewy and oddly-textured soy vadi curry (soy nuggets in a mild sauce), a hot--but not overly hot--potato capsicum (chunks of potatoes with peppers), an aromatic dish called bhindi masala (okra curry), and for dessert, a delightful fruit cream and a rich coffee mousse. Folks who opt for the buffet also receive roti (a flat Indian bread) at their tables, and a type of buttermilk that is made with yogurt.
For those who decide to have dinner or a non-buffet lunch at Ritu Ki Rasoi, there are nearly 20 dosa options, including a red-hot andhra dosa which is apparently made with the infamous ghost chilis (much hotter than habaneros), and about 10 uttapam options, including one with onions and chili peppers. Chaat (a plate of savory "street food" snacks), idli (savory cakes), and Indo-Chinese dishes (ginger paneer, sweet corn soup, cauliflower manchurian) are also found on the regular menu here. Drinks at Ritu Ki Rasoi do not include alcoholic beverages, but you can get fruit juice, coconut water, rose milk, mango lassi, masala soda, and more. One more note--if you come to this restaurant on a Wednesday evening, the restaurant has "theme" buffets that include everything from street food to cuisines of different sections of India.
Restaurants that are located behind auto parts stores generally aren't elegant places where well-dressed people go for dates or business meetings, and this certainly applies to Ritu Ki Rasoi, but for exotic and unique dishes that are also generally healthy, this place is tough to beat, especially in a chain-heavy town such as Burlington. Just remember--the restaurant is very easy to miss, so make sure you set up your GPS (or get some really good directions) before heading over to this eclectic little spot. (One more note: Ritu Ki Rasoi is closed on Mondays.)
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