It’s been a while since I’ve updated, due to many circumstances, including my lack of eating out! But I’ve got an update for you today on Restaurant Asha, which I recently visited with some friends—the proper way to enjoy any dining experience.
Asha is a small Indian restaurant located on Park Avenue, just down the street from the 24-hour Second Cup of choice for McGill students. Seeing as it’s part of the “McGill ghetto” area, it’s a natural choice for McGill students who love Indian food and hate to cook. Oddly enough, I used to live in the McGill ghetto, but had never been to Asha before last week. I am obviously either oblivious, crazy, or spent far too much time in the “Concordia ghetto” to notice this place. Bad reviewer!
In any event, Asha is a great place to go if you’re feeling like sharing a ton of food or want to grab a bite to eat before a film at the Cinema du Parc (we caught “A Wink and a Smile,” as part of the Montreal Burlesque Festival). The ambiance is similar to many of the Indian restaurants in town: real napkins and tablecloths, a kind of formal-casual that doesn’t necessitate dressing up, but where you wouldn’t feel out of place if you did. Plus they’re fully licensed, so you can enjoy some old-school cocktails like the Sling or an Indian beer before your meal.
Lamb saag and chicken korma (photo by Flickr user avlxyz)
A trio, our party ordered the Chicken Korma, Butter Chicken, and a curry lamb dish whose name has escaped me (saag?). These were mildly spicy, as we weren’t in the mood for the hot stuff, and although the portions appeared quite small, once we had enjoyed our appetizers of onion baji and samosas, it was more than enough for the three of us. You also get basmati rice with your mains, and we added some garlic naan to the mix, so there were plenty of carbs to soak up the sauces. As one of my dining companions wondered aloud, “Why is it that, at some point, you just want to eat all the sauce?”
Why indeed? We don’t know, but we soaked up a helluva lotta sauce with our naan and rice, yum! The mysteries of Indian cuisine live on.
The food here was slightly more expensive than your typical Shoestring “cheap eats” meal, but if you’ve got some extra cash and feel like splurging, this is a great place to do it. If you can grab the window table, you can people-watch to your heart’s content, or if you feel like going incognito, there are tables in the back where no one would ever think to look for you and your hidden lust for curry.
Delectable samosas (photo by Flickr user food_in_mouth)
Oh, and despite our meaty tendencies, there were plenty of veggie options for those that partake of this zany lifestyle. The samosas were decidedly veggie, as were the baji, but as for the healthiness of these options, well, they were deep-fried in plenty of oil.
All in all, I would recommend Asha to those in the neighbourhood, especially if you wanted to try their special three-course lunch deal (Mon-Fri from noon to 2:30 PM), despite its slightly higher price tags. I think, ultimately, my favourite cheap-eats Indian place has to be Breads of India, with D.A.D.S. Bagels coming in an unexpected second for its late-night satisfaction. (Reviews to come!) There are some nice cheap Indian eateries up in the Park-Ex area, too, but I tend not to venture that far north if I can avoid it. Location, location, location, y’know?
What about you? Got any faves or spots to avoid?
ADDRESS: 3490 Avenue du Parc (McGill Ghetto)
METRO: McGill and a short walk