|Paneer Tikka Masala|
We decided to celebrate our first wedding anniversary by revisiting the campground where we were married last year, in Clear Lake, Wisconsin. On the way there, I wanted to stop at Ray's Truck Stop, because I heard they had excellent Indian food. My husband's response was, "Really?" I don't think he wanted to try it. Fortunately for me, we were in the middle of a downpour when we hit the Baldwin exit.We really had no choice but to pull over, so, why not give it a try?
The actual restaurant is a little difficult to find, it is in a Mobil station, and you have to walk through the convenience store to get to it. When we were seated, we were handed a menu, and told the daily special (hot turkey sandwich). We looked through the menu, and saw no Indian food, even though there was a post on the window that said "Curry" when we arrived. When our waitress came back, I asked if they still served Indian food, and she said, "Oh, I'll get you the other menu." For future visitors, remember to ask! The menu is massive, 3 full pages of all different kinds of dishes. Although, the idea of beef vindaloo might be a bit disconcerting to a true Indian food afficionado, they have just about every Indian dish you can think of. I selected Paneer Tikka Masala for my lunch, and was given the choice of mild, medium or spicy. Of course, I chose spicy, because I was thinking I was in Wisconsin, it wasn't going to be all that hot.
When it arrived, it was an enormous portion, and came with enough rice to feed us for the weekend. The rice was nothing special, in fact, was quite dry and probably had been sitting for a bit, but the tikka masala was special, indeed! The amount of paneer in the dish was crazy, more than I have ever been served in any other Indian restaurant, and it was the best I have ever tasted. Nice texture, tart flavor, and solid. The tikka masala sauce was spicy, but well balanced. This was truly one of the best Indian dishes I have had.
My husband chose chicken vindaloo, and also ordered his spicy. Traditionally, vindaloo would be more spicy than tikka masala, but his was not as hot as mine. Nonetheless, he had a large portion of food, the same unimpressive rice, but an amazingly flavorful sauce. Again, as good or better than any of the Indian restaurants we have tried in the Twin Cities area.
Would I recommend this place? Absolutely. The only somewhat disconcerting thing happened was while I was paying the bill. I overheard the "chef" discussing the difficulty she had preparing our lunches, because she wasn't the normal person who prepared the Indian cuisine, so she was just going off the other person's notes. I told her we thought the food was excellent, and she said, "Good, because I kind of just guessed." So, maybe consistency might be an issue at Ray's Truck Stop? But I would give it another try, most definitely.