First the ambiance and the wait staff are amazing. The decor is definitely bright and modern and they incorporate lots of glass and stainless steel into the restaurant, and yet with all the cold surfaces and metals...the decor still looks welcoming and cozy. The restaurant itself is very small, with only about 10 tables, and a small patio area. The left side of the restaurant is dedicated to Vij's fresh packaged food. So if you can't go to Vij's or there are too many people (as it is often very crowded), you can grab a bag of lamb curry, take it home and heat it yourself.
The menu is diverse and wonderful, they have full veggie options, meat dishes, and dessert. I ordered the the Portobello Mushroom and red bell pepper curry on paneer with beet salad and naan, while my mother ordered the Spicy pulled pork on sauteed greens with sour cream chutney and naan. The menu changes occasionally, as Vij's Rangoli is the "test kitchen" of Vij's, which is located next door, but extremely popular items, like the Portobello Mushroom red bell pepper curry, have to stay or the populace of Vij going patrons will revolt. =)
To keep our palates watered and our dishes company we ordered some drinks to sate our ravenous hunger. Like the logical person she is, my mother ordered the hot chai tea and I, being crazy, ordered the cold mango lassi (while eating outside on the porch in extremely cold weather.) The Chai tea was very nice. While some chai teas can be bitter and others overly sweet, this one was in the middle. Goldilocks, if she were a fan of chai tea, would be very happy.
For those unaware of what a "lassi" is, it's a traditional Punjabi yogurt based drink and it can be sweet or savory. Generally they are very delicious. My sweet mango lassi was no exception, albeit it was a bit cold to be gulping the whole thing down like I did, I still did it. It was thick and had just the right amount of tart from the yogurt, but was also sweet from the natural mango flavor. You always know when a lassi is done right when the straw sticks straight up out of the drink. MAGIC.
After a short wait our food came in all it's glory. I always try to write my food reviews after I eat the food, so I can give an accurate representation of what I felt and tasted at the restaurant. Vij's however left such a good impression on me that I can write about their food clearly now a few weeks later. I dream about my Portobello mushroom curry...
My mother's Pulled pork was definitely a more spicy than my main entre, but equally as delicious. The pork was tender, the naan had just enough give and toughness, and the vegetables buried under the pulled pork absorbed all its spice and flavor. Savory and delightful, the small bite my mom gave me made me want to order a whole other plate of pulled pork for for myself. I found that this dish tasted best with the chutney, pulled pork, and vegetables put on the naan bread. =)
However the Portobello mushroom red bell pepper curry, although the title is a mouthful, is divine. Usually when I go out to eat I have carnivore tendencies, but this dish woke up the vegetarian in me. It's an altogether creamy, spicy, delicious, curry. The curry is not overly SPICED, but instead focuses on the harmony between the mix of spices and the coconut milk. The portobello mushroom and red bell pepper were both deliciously juicy and ridiculously satisfying and the paneer, a Indian cheese, added another kick of tart creaminess to the dish. The beet salad was fresh and helped to break up the heavy creaminess of the portobello and red peppers, and everything worked together in complete harmony. The naan was delicious too, but I always love naan. =P If I was a business major I would say that this dish had synergy.
I strongly recommend going to Vij's Rangoli...the word that most describes this restaurant is harmony. The decor, cuisine, and the combination of the young, hip waitstaff with the older traditional cooks in their glass walled kitchen all work together to bring absolute deliciousness to your dishes. Eating here was truly a pleasure and now I'm even more excited to go back home and try Vij's during their dinner rush. =) I've heard it's even more delicious.
Kid Friendly: Yes, but the space is quite small
Price: $$$ out of $$$$$