Restaurant review

Modest digs, authentic eats at Kitchen of India in Parkville

For The Baltimore Sun
Don't miss the chicken vindaloo at the unassuming Kitchen of India in Parkville.

With Kitchen of India, Mohammad "Babu" Rahman, a Bangladeshi native, has created an Indian food oasis in a modest strip shopping center on busy West Joppa Road near Towson. The 40-year-old chef-owner, who opened the restaurant in 2006, is constantly tweaking the menu of mostly traditional dishes.

In recent months, he has featured seafood and tandoori specials. In the next few weeks, Rahman plans to add wings and pizza to the repertoire, but with Indian flavors, he said.

After 10 years, the walkway to the restaurant, whose address is listed as Parkville, looks a little worn with ripped, green indoor-outdoor carpeting leading to the front door. But persevere.

Inside, the dining room is pristine and formal. The tables are covered in crisp white cloths and set with fresh flowers — yellow tulips on our visit. And the vibe is friendly and welcoming.

Scene & Decor The dining room is ablaze with striking burnt orange walls and colorful Asian-Indian paintings with rhinestones.

Appetizers You'll find traditional Indian offerings like naans (flatbreads) with fillings and various samosas. We started with the vegetable samosas ($3.95), featuring two crispy turnovers wrapped like a package around a fresh mix of potatoes and peas blessed with herbs and served with delicious dipping sauces, a cilantro-laced green mint and a tangy-sweet tamarind one. On a cold night, the golden lentil soup ($2.95) was a hearty, garlicky elixir.

Entrees There are dozens of main dishes to choose from in the eight-page menu. You can pick your level of spiciness: mild, medium, hot or Indian hot. Let's just say that "hot" brings good tears to the eyes. Medium would suit those with a slight need for heat. We were intrigued by the Bangladeshi specials and were pleased with the fish fry combo ($16.95). The platter was piled with a gently breaded, plump tilapia fillet, a bowl of soft lentils and aromatic basmati rice. We were also given another serving of rice on the side. The chicken vindaloo ($13.95) was everything the curry dish should be — spicy and chockfull of tender chicken cubes and potato chunks.

Drinks BYOB with no corkage fee — a nice option. The menu includes favorites like chai tea and three kinds of lassi (a yogurt-based buttermilk drink), plus juices and sodas.

Service Our server was attentive (though we did have to ask for water) but not very knowledgeable about the menu.

Dessert The iced, bright-orange mango kulfi ($2.95) was a cool treat after all the spicy dishes. It also comes in a pistachio flavor. Other sweets include gulab jamun, homemade Indian cheese morsels dipped in honey syrup, and kheer, a rice pudding.

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Kitchen of India

Backstory: Chef-owner Mohammad "Babu" Rahman opened the restaurant in 2006. The Bangladeshi native had worked in the hospitality industry as a manager and chef since 1997 before investing in his own business. "It was my main goal," he said. "I love to feed people."

Parking: Shopping center lot

Signature dish: Chicken vinadaloo, chicken tikka masala

TVs: None

Where: 1842 E. Joppa Road, Parkville

Contact: 410-663-6880, kitchenofindiaus.com

Open: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. lunch and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; noon to 3 p.m. lunch and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday;, noon to 3 p.m. lunch and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday.

Credit Cards: All major

Reservations: Yes

Bottom line: If you're looking for traditional, well-prepared Indian food, Kitchen of India is worth a visit.

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