A shout out today to my friend, Shawn Eldridge, for the heads up on the new Indian restaurant in downtown Moline - Funky Desi. Desi is a Sanskrit term for people, foods and cultures of the Indian subcontinent. The name Funky Desi is a nod to the Indian culture, plus the fact the restaurant becomes a night club after 10 p.m. on the weekends. We gave it a try on a recent Friday night.
Funky Desi is now in the spot of the former Taj Oriental/India Rasoi in downtown Moline. (see map) The thing that my wife and I remember about India Rasoi is that it was freezing in there in the winter time and they didn't have hot water in the restrooms. So, we were sort of happy to find out that India Rasoi had closed down and a new Indian restaurant would take its place. It opened on April 15, 2013.
We liked the food at India Rasoi, so we were happy to hear that their former chef, Kevin Lal, would be one of the partners in Funky Desi. In addition to traditional Indian cuisine with a full lunchtime buffet from 11 to 2 everyday (except on Monday, when they're closed), Funky Desi also has a Sunday brunch complete with bloody mary's and mimosa's.
On Friday and Saturday nights after 9 p.m., Funky Desi turns into a dance club with karaoke on Friday and a D.J. on Saturday. They have a full liquor bar and 24 beers on tap. Interestingly, it also has about a half dozen or so flat panel televisions on the wall behind the bar for the sports enthusiasts. If I'm not mistaken, I think they were also showing a cricket match on one of the TV's.
They really spruced up the place from the last time we were there for dinner at India Rasoi. They changed the lighting and the decor to make it more elegant than before. But, much to the delight of my wife, it was WARM in there.
We were seated in a booth toward the back of the restaurant and given menus to look over. Our server for the evening, Christopher, came over to greet us and take our drink order. I got a Kingfisher beer while Cindy got a glass of the house cabernet wine.
The menu hasn't seemed to change much from when Keven Lal was the chef for India Rasoi. Funky Desi has traditional Indian cuisine in addition to a lengthy list of vegetarian dishes. They have a number of tandoor entrees as well as the wonderful biryani dishes that we liked from before.
Cindy ended up ordering the Rogan Josh and I got the lamb vindaloo. The menu said that the vindaloo was spicy, but that was fine with me. We also got some lassan (garlic) naan to go with the meal.
Our meals came out to us in a quick enough fashion - probably 12 to 15 minutes after we ordered. The deep red lamb vindaloo was served in a small bowl with another small bowl of rice on the side. The vindaloo had large chunks of lamb in the sauce. Oh, and GOD - it was spicy. Not quite "burn-your-face-off" spicy, but it certainly grabbed my attention. I drank all of my beer and most of my water during the meal. The vindaloo was very good. And there was plenty of sauce in which to dip the garlic naan.
Cindy's rogan josh was more brown in color, but still had the same chunks of lamb the vindaloo had. It wasn't as spicy as the vindaloo and she really enjoyed it. The garlic naan was a great complement to the meal. Compared to the other couple of very good Indian restaurants we frequent in the Quad Cities, Funky Desi is in the ball park.
We both enjoyed the food at Funky Desi. Although we didn't stay for karaoke, we did run next door to have a couple beers with friends at the Bent River Brewery. And I needed a couple beers just to tone down the spices still swirling in my mouth from the wonderfully spicy lamb vindaloo. We both were impressed with the food and Christopher's service was good, as well. And the place had a nice atmosphere - and the full bar is a plus. Once again, we have a choice of three pretty good to very good Indian restaurants in the Quad Cities. It will be nice to put Funky Desi in the rotation.