Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Peeking into Ruchee Express

On my way home from doing my civic duty on MLK Day (speaking at the General Assembly Budget Committee meeting), I stopped at the latest eatery to pop up on Main Street (at the Morris corner by VCU/7-11). Ruchee Express Indian Cuisine is a welcome addition to the Fan. Downtown really doesn't have any Indian food to speak of, except for that lunch cart down by MCV.

The place is small, as you might recall from Sweetpeas and the catering company that was there before them. But they've already got their system figured out: $6.49 Lunch special of one meat and two veg, naan bread, rice, raita and probably a little chutney. Sound good? Ruchee has reason to believe their new location will be a success (they've got another one on Midlothian Turnpike). VCU's dining hall has been bringing the Ruchee staff in regularly to serve their curries and biryanis and they could barely keep up with demand. Now, VCU students will be able to duck into the little store front and scarf down a delicious bargain lunch between classes, right there in the armpit of the campus (seriously, from Harrison to Papa Johns on Main is a second class substitute for the Grace Street corridor - but, there be bargains here).

Before leaving, I had to sample the food. But, I only had a couple ones and change for the meter stashed away in my car. I got two samosas and one garlic naan (yes, they have a real tandoori oven). Back at the house, we tore into the food. The naan was great, crispy, bubbly, garlicky, and buttery. Go there (or any competent Indian restaurant) and order this stuff. The samosas were okay. Remember, I'm a samosa snob. Plenty of good Indian restaurants make sub-par samosas, while some grocery stores make awesome ones. These were small and the flavors weren't significant enough to keep me from the coriander and tamarind chutnies. A suitable stand-in - about a 7 on the 1-10 scale, being generous.

Anywho, I hope everyone embraces Ruchee, as Indian food is sooooo good in the winter time (okay, all year round too). Their primary location on the southside used to be a real diamond in the rough. Lately, the quality of the buffet hasn't been what it used to be. Let's hope they return to full strength once this new endeavor gets off the ground.


  1. I'm glad to see a somewhat positive review of Ruchee's new location. My wife and I live in Midlothian and have lunch weekly here on the South side.

    I hadn't noticed a backslide in the buffet, but also haven't been there in two weeks. My wife is back in town this week and we'll have to find out more on Friday.

  2. Thanks for chiming in, Tom. Bad Ruchee is better than no Ruchee. And who knows, maybe Karen and I just ate the wrong things on two separate visits. I'm sure they'll do what they do best in order to expand their operation.

    I forgot to mention the Ruchee Grand Opening special: $5 off an order of $30 or more and $10 off a $50 order. I foresee myself trying to eat $30 worth of Indian food just to save five bucks.

  3. i have been waiting for it to open! that is awesome, i am totally checking it out. :)

  4. bfish9:03 PM

    We went to lunch buffet at Ruchee on Midlothian less than a month ago and found it up to par, based on past visits. I still think it has the best and most interesting Indian buffet in Richmond. (I would like to be able to partake as often as poster Tom.) While I'm not a vegetarian the vegetable dishes are my main target at Indian buffets; if they ditched the ubiquitous Tandoori chicken and curries made from the TC leftovers and served goat curry I could be tempted.


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