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OS Reviews: Choolaah Indian Barbecue

Indian barbecue “fast-casual” restaurant Choolaah opened on August 14 in Redifer Commons within the South Halls Food District.

Choolaah offers rice “power bowls” with a protein option, daal or masala option, and a slate of sauces.

To make things more exciting, samosas and a variety of beverages are available in Choolaah’s repertoire. The beverages include mint ginger lemonade, mango lemonade, mango lassi, and chai tea.

With the lack of Indian options on campus, several hungry staffers headed to Redifer to check out the unique menu.

Vik Raj: Tikka Masala Power Bowl

OK, this was really good. I’m not even the biggest fan of Indian food, and up until five minutes before I got my bowl, I thought Choolaah was a type of meat.

I got the Tikka Masala with chicken over white rice and the flavors all balanced each other out perfectly. The chicken was seasoned well, the rice tasted amazing (but then again, it’s rice), and the tikka masala added that much-needed spice. I do think at times the tikka masala taste was a bit overbearing, so ask them to go easy if that doesn’t sound like something you’d like.

The bowl itself is pretty heavy. I had it for lunch, but I’d personally recommend getting it for dinner when your appetite is a bit bigger. Overall, my experience was great. The staff was kind and appreciative, and they threw in two samosas and a chai for free which was so nice. Since I live off-campus, it’s unlikely that I’d visit again, but the food was great quality and incredibly cheap. If you’re living on-campus, I think Choolaah is definitely worth checking out, even just once.

Luke Pieczynski: Chicken Yellow Lentil Daal Power Bowl

I tried Choolaah’s Yellow Lentil Daal power bowl from South this week. This is actually the second time I’ve been since its opening, and I think it’s pretty tasty and overall consistent from the few times I’ve been so far.

Both times I’ve tried Choolaah, I ordered this bowl with double chicken and paneer, which is a type of cheese I haven’t had before but is really good and has a unique flavor combination. Obviously, I’m not too well-versed in Indian barbecue at all, but I do appreciate the availability of another restaurant in Redifer Commons that adds variety and flavor to the sea of average options there now.

Fresco y Caliente will be missed, but I think Choolaah’s addition provides a nice variety from the typical buffet and sandwich options that are readily available elsewhere in other dining halls on campus. The chicken has been tender and not dry at all, something I didn’t expect from campus dining but something I am happy to see nonetheless. The yellow lentils also helped add a kick to both the white rice and the chicken which really brought the entire bowl together for me.

Alex Pepe: Tikka Masala Power Bowl

Ahhh, a nice Indian restaurant on campus. Something I didn’t know I needed until I tried it. With a good serving size and great sauces, I don’t know how you wouldn’t like this place. Also, want to shout out the drinks because I loved the mint ginger lemonade I bought with my meal. With that being said, I am a big fan of ginger, and it was definitely leaning toward the ginger side compared to the lemonade side.

Compared to some of the other chicken options on campus, the chicken I got here was fantastic. It was a perfect amount of spicy versus sweet, and it meshed really well with the other flavors. The tikka masala was also amazing and probably my favorite part about the whole dish. It’s exactly how you’d expect it to taste: comforting and flavorful.

The rice was nothing to write home about, but I’m not going to lie, how could plain rice be riveting? Moving to the samosas, they were a good addition to the bowl. A little bit dry on the inside, but the crispiness on the outside made up for it. Overall, the dish was fantastic and I will be incorporating Choolaah into my schedule.

The only thing I have to note is the lack of variety. There aren’t too, too many options. The Choolaah website includes loads of roasted vegetables and different bowl options, which, unfortunately, aren’t included at Redifer.

Sabrina Knox: Chicken Yellow Lentil Daal

I’m a big fan of Indian food, so when I heard Choolaah was coming to Redifer, I was pretty stoked. I’ve had Choolaah about once a week since school began, and this time around I decided to grab the rice-based bowl with yellow lentil daal, chicken, and a veggie croquette and samosa. I also decided to try the mint ginger lemonade, which I hate to say was incredibly underwhelming, too sweet, and neither minty nor gingery. The yellow lentil daal, however, is packed with flavor and adds extra protein, making it my go-to. The chicken was well-cooked and very tender and flavorful.

The serving sizes for the proteins are great, too, and I’ve only found myself wanting to ask for double meat once or twice. The veggie croquettes with the crispy exterior are also a go-to for me. The samosas have a flaky crust and pair perfectly with the heavier rice, sauce, and chicken. The chilled chai and mango lemonade are definitely my favorite Choolaah beverages. I’ve even added espresso to the chai, and it was delicious. I will absolutely be continuing to visit Redifer’s Choolaah location to get great Indian food for a great price. Next time, though, I’ll be skipping the mint ginger lemonade.

Nolan Wick: Chicken Tikka Masala Power Bowl

Finally, an Indian restaurant on campus. For what it’s worth, Choolaah is a good spot to grab a quick meal. I ordered a rice bowl with chicken tikka masala, a samosa, and a mango lassi, all of which tasted great.

Everything went well together and combined for a good lunch. It wasn’t that spicy, which is different from most Indian food, and is a pro or a con depending on how you like it. The drink was the highlight of the meal, though, as the size and sweet taste was perfect.

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