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Sunday, November 16, 2008

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Opened only three months ago, this little restaurant in Castro Valley enjoys lunchtime regulars, and in the evening, local families and groups of friends pack the place filled with a warm smell of freshly baked nan and a myriad of spices. “I grew up in India, and I don’t like hot peppery food,” said Satinder Grewal, who owns the place together with her husband, Pardeep, and her brother, Raja Singh. “When we were growing up, I remember different aromas coming from our home kitchen when a delicious dinner was cooking. Spicy Indian cuisine is not just hot, as many people think. To me, it’s a variety of tastes and flavors.” This variety is reflected in the menu, which encompasses culinary traditions from different regions of India, offering a number of tandoori specialties and vegetarian dishes along with chicken, lamb, and seafood staples. Singh, who possesses resort and restaurant work experience from his previous occupations, and is a distinguished cook himself, oversees the daily activities of his three chefs. “My chef can create 170 kinds of nan,” he said. “Just name any.” On the menu, there are at least ten kinds of Indian bread, all put in the oven following every individual order. With two large tandoor ovens, the kitchen cooks marinated meats in 15-20 minutes to each customer’s specifications. Any dish can be prepared in mild, medium, or hot range of spiciness in curry, masala, or korma sauce—all of which are cooked by Singh personally every day. The family opened Aroma Cuisine of India—the only Indian restaurant in Castro Valley—after getting tired of traveling to Fremont for a decent dinner. “We all love good food,” said Grewal, whose husband, a lawyer, works for the family restaurant on his free time, “now we have a place for it. We eat here every day.” She said that following Indian traditions of hospitality, every patron at the restaurant is treated as a houseguest. “We pay special attention to the service,” said Grewal, “Raja talks to every visitor. He makes sure people are getting what they want.” It’s easy to get what you want when every dish is cooked to order, and flavorful sauces are created in-house using fresh self-made yogurt. The restaurant also offers all-inclusive dinner platters, popular with large groups. Located in the heart of a central shopping area, under a clock tower, Aroma Cuisine of India attracts visitors to its cozy dining room with large windows and nicely spaced tables, an outdoor patio seating, attentive wait staff, and the freshest and most aromatic Indian cuisine one can imagine. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Take out, catering, and free delivery in Castro Valley available. 3418 Village Drive, Castro Valley. 510-888-9555, Photo by Yuri Krasov. Sister and brother, Satinder Grewal and Raja Singh eat at their own restaurant every day.


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