Velvet curtains drape the grand entrance, transporting guests into the world of ROOH. The modern fusion restaurant located at 473 University Ave. in Palo Alto opened its fifth set of doors on Jan. 10 to a long waitlist of reservations made by eager Palo Alto residents. The restaurant’s newest location adds to the city’s myriad cultural restaurants with an homage to authentic Indian spices and flavors, while its creative seasonal menus and inventive takes on traditional dishes set it apart from more customary contemporaries.
A flush of warm colors of the interior of the restaurant highlights a blazing wood fire and flickering candles cast a charming and intimate spell over patrons. Lamps illuminating brightly colored pillows and crystalline chandeliers fastened to columns around the restaurant further the rich and glowing ambience as an affectionate cultural exchange.
On one side of the restaurant is a bar serving fruity concoctions. The wall behind the bar shelves an assortment of alcohol bottles, antiques and books.
Deeper into the restaurant, a window into the kitchen gives customers a view of the unique live-fire cooking that ROOH is known for. An assortment of meats, vegetables and pineapples are dangled and rotated above the fiery red flames. A smoking cabinet can also be viewed from the large window.
Even a month after its opening, ROOH was still busy. The chatter of guests that filled each table and the cooking in the kitchen added to the lively essence of the restaurant.
ROOH’s service was exceptional. We were met with smiles and undivided attention from staff members when we found ourselves in need of anything.
The menu is split into four sections: “To share,” “From the wood fire grill,” “Not from the grill” and “Curries & Accompaniments.” The impressive variety of meat and vegetarian options highlights the restaurant’s versatility. To get a real taste of what ROOH has in store, Verde Magazine tried a dish from every section of the menu.
Indian Bouquet ($6)
The Indian bouquet was a soothing tea that arrived in a beautiful flower-decorated teapot and teacup. Hints of rose petals provided a light floral taste, while the chamomile, lavender and cardamom rendered a silky smooth mixture of smoky, minty and earthy flavors.
Kaam Bhari Collins ($8)
The Kaam Bhari Collins was a delightfully tart fizzy drink that achieved a balance between ginger beer and mango shavings. The drink, however, was small compared to its price. Both the Indian Bouquet and the Kaam Bhari Collins arrived relatively quickly.
Swordfish Tikka ($16)
This seafood kebab was displayed as thick pieces of swordfish arranged carefully on a decorative plate. The swordfish pieces laid on a bed of vivid green chimichurri, topped with bright pink onions and parsley. The seasoning of the fish had enough flavor to stand on its own, but a creamy sauce mixture of miso, Bengal mustard and black lime aioli also gave the swordfish an added tangy kick. The fresh fish complemented the meager acidity of toppings perfectly, making for a delicious bite. Overall, this dish was definitely a favorite.
Tandoori Pineapple ($8)
The sweet yellow pineapple came in a small black bowl and was topped with feta cheese, fresh mint and a very light sprinkle of red chili powder. The dish had a peculiar taste of tangy fruit and sharp cheese, however, the flavors strangely fit together. This refreshing, healthy taste breaker provided a sample of the sweet side of Indian cuisine.
Avocado Bhel ($15)
The waiter presented to us a luscious green salad, overpowered by a bombardment of green chickpeas and avocado. The dish had a little bit of spice which was combated by the coolness of the vegetables. The ingredients were extremely fresh. The Avocado Bhel will be enjoyed by any chickpea-lover.
Butter Chicken ($26) Garlic Naan ($5) Zarda Pulao ($9)
From the Curries & Accompaniments section, our waiter recommended the Butter Chicken, Garlic Naan and Zarda Pulao together for the ultimate experience. The Butter Chicken dish came in a small bronze pot with handles on either side; the chicken itself was tender and had a firm texture.
However, the flavor of the curry was a bit overpowering. The accompaniments did a great job balancing this blitz of flavor; the Garlic Naan was crispy and warm and was especially delicious when dipped in the curry. The soft Zarda Pulao, a type of rice, was a delightful texture and certainly made the curry experience whole. All three dishes came together to create a wonderful medley of flavor.