Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Gigantic Samosas and Oversized Mixed Grill at R and R Curry in Fort Smith.

The little spot that popped up in the back end of a gas station over a decade ago just outside of downtown Fort Smith has really blossomed over time. Let's see how R and R Curry Express in Fort Smith continues to serve.

Though their fist-sized samosas have always been a favorite, it has been a pure joy to see an interior space go from blank walls to an oasis of Indian delights, complete with a menu that reflects its establishment in the area.

Indeed, the restaurant's keema samosas, big spiced lamb and beef filled turnovers served with mint chutney and tamarind sauce, are still an apt and complete meal in themselves, at a bargain price of just $5.99 for two and enough to satisfy.

It is, however, the mixed grill that keeps bringing our family back to the table - a dish R&R does so very well, and which can adequately feed our group with ease. This single dish ($24.99) is a combination of all the tandoori meat specialties - bright red tandoori chicken from the leg quarter, marinated a full day in yogurt and spices; chunks of golden chicken tikka from the breast; large shrimp marinated overnight full of crisp flavor; and ground beef and lamb formed into beautiful, tight rolls known as seekh kebabs. This protein-packed pleasure offers a group to enjoy all the different tandoor specialties at once. I appreciate the time it takes to make the dish, particularly because the meats are not tough, and because the different flavors of each meat dish is still quite significant. Overall, I adore the shrimp, but any of the components here are magnificent.

The curries R&R offers are always consistent. The mild may be a bit too mild for me, but for someone who is sensitive to spices or hasn't experienced Indian fare before, it's a great starting point. Medium seems to be more my speed, as with dishes like the Punjabi Karahi Gosht, goat meat (bone-in) simmered for hours in herbs and spices, or with the standard Chicken Tikka Masala. Of special note is the Bengan Chicken, where chicken and eggplant are cooked together for a surprisingly smooth flavored dish. And I am in love with the Lamb Shahi Korma, done here beautifully thick and creamy.

I would be remiss if I didn't note all the vegetable options offered, such as the excellent Dal Makhani with its red beans and black lentils, or Chole, tender chickpeas in spices that's very much the regional comfort food equivalent of American red beans and rice. The paneer dishes are also quite good.

What truly makes R&R Curry stand out, though, are the wraps and burritos - particularly the Indian burrito and the brisket wrap. I must admit, I would not have expected a high-end barbecue joint quality brisket from an Indian restaurant, but this place delivers, with truly fall-apart brisket wrapped in warm naan with your choice of vegetables and sauces - including tomato, onion, spinach, lettuce and daikon radish, drizzled with raita or mint chutney or tamarind sauce (or all three), served with Tikka Masala sauce for dipping.  Truly inspired, and absolutely wonderful.

You'll find R&R Curry Express in the back end of the gas station at 1525 Rogers Avenue in Fort Smith, not far from downtown. It's on the block right next to RAM - the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum. It's open Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner. You can check out the menu at the restaurant website or call (479) 494-5520.

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