I am loyal to restaurants. When I find a place I like, and a dish I like, I will frequent the venue again and again. That has been the case for Indian Oven, my go-to Indian restaurant in Columbus, for nearly two decades.
So when Dr. Science and the GV Jogger suggested that Kish and I join them last night at Rooh, an Indian restaurant in the Short North, I was struck with pangs of guilt. But Dr. Science can be persistent and persuasive, and I enjoy trying new places, so I swallowed my unease. Billing itself as a “gastronomical journey in progressive Indian cuisine,” Rooh offers a wide range of dishes, some of which are decidedly unconventional. The menu is most intriguing. Whoever heard of an Indian dish that involved Monterey Jack cheese, which is part of the Kerala fried chicken small plate?
Our party opted for a few small plates and large plates that we could share. I focused on the Amritsari Shrimp, which was crispy and crunchy and served with a great chili mayo, and the Lamb Dum Biryani. The biryani was well presented in a small kettle as shown above and was topped with cashews. It also came with a bowl of boondi raita, a mild yogurt that was intended to cut the heat level if the diner found the biryani to be too spicy. I like spicy food, so the biryani wasn’t too fiery for my palate, but the boondi raita was such a perfect complement to my dish that I promptly spooned it onto my plate and mixed it in with the biryani. It was excellent. My food was so good that it raised a common problem at “plates to share” venues: I had to struggle internally not to be overtly territorial when others in the party wanted to dig in to my biryani and boondi raita.
I was able to withstand my strong feelings of Indian Oven guilt and enjoyed my food specifically and our visit to Rooh generally. Columbus is big enough and diverse enough to support multiple Indian restaurants, and I would definitely return to Rooh when I want to try a unique twist on traditional Indian fare. One of these days, I’m going to have to experience firsthand how Monterey Jack cheese fits into progressive Indian cuisine.