Eat This Now: Thali Lunch at Rasoi Curry Point

Come, Mister Thali Man!
Come, Mister Thali Man!
Edwin Goei

It's an all-you-can-eat-buffet world out there when it comes to Tustin's Indian restaurants--not that there's anything wrong with that. Dosa Place, Haveli, and India Kitchen all put out never-ending steam-table arrays worthy of a maharajah. But for an all-you-can-eat experience that seems even more fit for a king, I prefer Rasoi Curry Point.

Here is an AYCE that isn't a buffet: it's thalis, round trays crammed of little metal bowls filled with different dishes. Think of it as the Indian version of a Japanese bento box, except with unlimited refills. And when you're at Rasoi Curry Point, you don't get up to get your second helping, the second helping comes to you.

Thalis are also what they serve at the temple of Gurajati cuisine in Artesia called Rajdhani, where bowls are refilled with fiery lentil curries and an okra stew perfumed of fenugreek, but here in Tustin, Rasoi Curry Point's cooks don't point to any particular regional bias. I asked the owner who was also our server where the dishes hailed from. "Everywhere" he said, explaining he wanted to appeal to Indians from as many regions as possible.

By far the best item is the egg curry, whole hard-boiled eggs simmered in a gravy aromatic of all the spices under the Indian rainbow of flavors. You shouldn't expect it to be particularly spicy, though. It's just good, well-balanced and addictive. In fact, there isn't much that's spicy here. The food has a home-cooked bent, which was confirmed by an Indian friend who said it tastes more like mom food, less like restaurant food. The selection varies at every visit. Sometimes the naan isn't particularly great, but the egg curry is always solid and you are supplied with lots of chutneys, cooling yogurts, and more food than you can handle for a weekday lunch price of less than $9.

678 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA 92780, (714) 442-1560, rasoicurrypoint.com

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