It may not be fair, but most people hold certain stereotypes about certain food types.
One of those, unfortunately, is that Indian food is usually relegated to the land of takeout and hole in the wall joints.
It doesn’t help that the menus at most Indian spots tend to fall into that “Chinese Takeout” level of genericness, where you could practically close your eyes, never look at the menu, and still successfully place the same order at 10 out 10 different restaurants in town.
So, you can imagine our excitement when we heard about a brand new Indian restaurant in the Twin Cities that promises to change the way you look at Indian food.
Consider us interested!
About Raag Indian Cuisine
Raag is the brainchild of Chef Ajay Chopra.
It might be lost on us Minnesotans, but this guy is a bonafide star on Food Network India. He hosted multiple seasons of Master Chef India, he runs several different TV cooking shows, and he’s even got a Youtube channel with nearly half a million subscribers!
As he told us, he grew up in India, used to live in New York, and eventually decided that Indian Food needs progressing. So, he came to Minnesota, paired up with a former head chef of Hell’s Kitchen, and got to re-imagining the cuisine.
The result? Easily the most ambitious menu for any Indian restaurant around!
The Location, Vibe, and Atmosphere
Raag sits in a subtle building just off the corner of 50th and France, straddling the border between Minneapolis and Edina.
The interior space is truly beautiful. It’s a modern, upscale spot with subtle touches of India, like the gorgeous tile-patterned floors or the palm tree leaves in the corner of the bar. (The bar is also stunning, and absolutely stocked, by the way.)
There’s even a warm fireplace in on one corner, and as I write this, I realize I seriously regret not grabbing a picture of the interior space, although the more professional folks at the Raag website have a few in their gallery.
(Hey, we always said you get what you pay for around DTC!)
We ordered two cocktails, the Cool Cucumber and the Peru Blush.
Each came in surprisingly large glasses (which we definitely won’t complain about!) and both were delicious.
The Cool Cucumber in particular was a refreshing mix. Considering how much I loved it on a cold winter night, I’m 100% convinced I could drink it by the gallon come summertime.
Our waitress gave us a long and helpful list of recommendations, and we did our best to weave as many of those into our cravings as we could.
This is one of the most unique dishes at a super unique restaurant, so we knew that we had to try it.
It’s five shot glasses served with 5 fried puff balls. As our waitress explained, you pour the shots into the puffs and eat them in one bite. (Unless you want a serious mess on your hands!)
For whatever reason, I was actually surprised the shots were cold. And the flavors are definitely an exploratory adventure – they ranged from sweet and sour to truly savory. Sean actually described the last shot he had as “Tikka Masala in a glass” which sounds equally as interesting as the wide ranging flavors I tried.
Tandoor Grilled Paneer Skewer
These are spiced up skewers of cheese and veggies, served alongside a tamarind dipping sauce that definitely made the whole dish.
Seriously, I could bathe in that sauce. Even the table next to us leaned over and said, “You’re gonna want some extra sauce. It’s the best!”
Thank you, kind stranger, because you clearly knew what you were talking about here.
Chicken Tikka Lababdar
As the menu explained, this is “good old butter chicken, re-formed.”
And wow, could that be any more accurate?
Butter chicken is my go-to Indian order, and Raag just put on a master class on how to make this dish to perfection. Honestly, it’s impressive to see what can happen to an old favorite when a renown chef focuses all their energy on making the perfect version of it.
This was without question the most tender butter chicken I’ve ever had. I cut the thing with a spoon, for goodness’ sake!
Kasmiri Rogan Josh
Same story here as the butter chicken.
This was an incredible chef’s take on a classic, and the result was spoon-tender meat bathing in silky-smooth curry.
I personally liked that this dish actually had a little more spicy, and slightly bolder flavors, than the Chicken Tikka Lababdar, but Sean still preferred his good old butter chicken.
Garlic Naan and Wild Mushroom & Truffle Kulcha Naan
You know we couldn’t get all those curries without some naan for dipping, could we?
And you know we couldn’t restrain ourselves to just one flavor, right?
Both of these were fantastic, but we’ve got to take a moment and talk about the unique wild mushroom and truffle version. It’s similar to the naan you’ve probably come to expect, except they add a thin layer of mushroom/truffle paste in between the breads.
Talk about adding a flavor bomb to a classic! I absolutely loved it.
Dessert: Mango Kulfi Mousse
This was a beautiful mix of mango yogurt, along with fruits, berries, and a vanilla meringue. Such a perfectly refreshing end to the meal.
We loved our visit to Raag!
In fact, our experience was so positive that we had to add Raag to our list of best Indian restaurants in the Twin Cities. So, say hello to our new pick for the best fancy Indian food in town!
Admittedly, we took a somewhat cautious approach to Raag’s progressive Indian cuisine. We weren’t exactly planning on it, but in ordering butter chicken and rogan josh, we did accidentally order two Indian classics at a place known for their progressive takes.
Except, those classics were completely transformed versions of the usual, which only has us even more excited to come back and try some of the more adventurous items on the menu.
Which we definitely will!
Free street parking. Garage parking also available.
Full wait service
Quiet to Average
3812 W 50th St, Minneapolis, MN 55410