It wasn’t New Mexico’s Chamber of Commerce winter weather that enticed Chef Pramad “Paddy” Rawal to remain in the Land of Enchantment. In fact, when he first landed at Albuquerque’s International Sunport, he wondered if he had gotten on the correct flight. Albuquerque was as frigid as his home in Michigan which he had left just hours prior. Attired in clothing more appropriate for a balmy spring day, Paddy had certainly not anticipated the winter snap that kept New Mexicans indoors for several days on that uncommonly cold December in 2010.
Paddy was in New Mexico to visit his artist friends Dick and Jane in Santa Fe. Michigan transplants themselves, his friends had long tried to influence Paddy to leave the Wolverine State and open up a restaurant in Santa Fe. They wined and dined their guest and did their best to point out the charms of the capital city, but Mother Nature would not cooperate. Then they took him to a couple of New Mexico’s most highly regarded Indian restaurants. That’s when he came to the conclusion that what passes for good Indian food in New Mexico wasn’t good enough for his friends. Four months later, Paddy opened up Raaga Fine Indian Dining in Santa Fe.
From day one Raaga has been a huge critical success in The City Different, beloved not only by a very grateful Dick and Jane, but by Santa Fe’s savvy, well-traveled dining public. The feeling is very much mutual. Paddy has fallen in love with Santa Fe and sees himself as potentially retiring in New Mexico. Considering the well-traveled Paddy has worked as a chef in India, Egypt, Dubai, Australia and Michigan, that’s quite a testament to enchantment and to much better weather than what first welcomed him to the state.
With the November 1st, 2012 launch of Paddy Rawal’s OM Fine Indian Dining Restaurant, Duke City diners have begun to experience for themselves what Santa Fe diners now know and what East Lansing diners have been missing since Paddy closed his two Michigan eateries. OM may be in a class of its own in New Mexico when it comes to fine Indian dining! A number of infatuated patrons, including Larry McGoldrick, the professor with the perspicacious palate, have already become confirmed habitues. In short order, OM will have legions of pleased patrons.
The main reason, of course, is the cuisine. Boasting of rich, intricately flavored dishes prepared with the finest spices, freshest herbs and highest quality ingredients, OM takes Northern Indian fare to new heights, even incorporating local Southwest elements as well as Chinese dishes to create imaginative and sophisticated fusions of deliciousness. There are two aspects of Indian cuisine at which OM exceeds. One is in the use of spices, the true legacy of India’s culinary heritage. While the primary function of spices is to enhance the flavor of food, it is experience and tradition which determine their optimal use, whether it be to season food, enhance its texture or introduce color. The other aspect is in the preparation of sauces, each one designed to bring out the finest qualities of the ingredients on which they’re used.
The other reason OM will, in short order, become a Duke City favorite is Paddy Rawal himself. A peripatetic presence, Paddy is the consummate host and a veritable whirling dervish who is seemingly everywhere at once. He wears the stains of spilled sauces on his chef’s coat as a badge of honor, evidence that he himself is preparing the incomparable cuisine himself. Expect him to check up on you frequently to ensure your dining experience is as good as it can be. Paddy is a very engaging, charming and modest fellow, quick to turn compliments about his cooking into something praiseworthy he noticed about you. Interacting with satisfied customers is imperative to him.
The OM menu offers an exciting culinary journey into superior taste and flavor, into subtle nuances and exotic complexity, into delicate spice blends and rich, creamy sauces. All dishes can be ordered mild, medium, hot, hell or any variation thereof (medium plus for example). A daily lunch buffet–at a ridiculously low price considering the quality–features various vegetarian, vegan and meat dishes as well as rice, salad, naan and dessert. Now if you’re sniggering at the seemingly contradictory notion of a fine dining restaurant offering a buffet, you’ll salute Paddy’s prowess at making all-you-can-eat a sublime offering. With a menu that showcases vegetarian and vegan options as well as seafood and meat entrees, there truly is something for everyone at OM.
12 November 2012: Thus far, Albuquerque’s favorite OM appetizer is chana chaat, one of the most popular of Indian street foods and not only because it can be served as a side dish, snack or salad. OM’s rendition combines chickpeas, cucumber, blueberries, whole wheat crisps, tomatoes, mint chutney and sweetened yoghurt. It’s a refreshing adventure in bright and lively flavors and textures, an absolute delight because so many flavors coalesce on your taste buds. Those flavors are both contrasting and complementary, flavors that play off each other.
My mom, a tortillera in the most traditional sense may disown me for this, but I’ve come to prefer naan to tortillas, even those she prepares with love on her seasoned comal. OM offers nine varieties of naan, a flat, leavened bread made of white flour and baked in a tandoor; and roti, its wheat counterpart which is cooked on a flat griddle. Now, three baskets of naan is far too many for a meal for two, but when you can’t make up your minds, order to your hearts’ content because you’ll have wonderful naan for later. Three distinctive varieties with which we fell in love are the rosemary-olive oil naan, stuffed cheese naan and stuffed dried fruit naan. Each has its unique flavor profile with the commonality being a pinto pony-like char and a light burnishing with clarified butter (ghee). Whether you nosh on the naan, dip it into a chutney or use it to sop up a superb sauce, you’ll savor every bite.
While Ancho and Amchur in combination may sound like a suppressed sneeze, they’re actually spices which Paddy employs. New Mexicans are more familiar with Ancho, a powder made from a type of chile that lends a rich, subtle piquancy to foods. Amchur, a greenish-yellowish powder of dried mangoes, lends the quality of fruity-sweetness, but not to a cloying degree. The qualities of these two complementary spices are well in evidence on the Ancho-Amchur Crusted Tandoori Chicken. The spices penetrate deeply into the bone-in thigh and breast, imparting a slight piquancy and tanginess to the tandoor grilling. As if the moist, tender, delicious chicken isn’t wonderful enough, OM includes a sauce which also utilizes those spices. It makes a terrific dipping sauce for the chicken or for the naan.
Korma Sutra might be an appropriate descriptor for the Seafood Korma which just may have a foodgasm effect on your taste buds. Korma, a Northern Indian specialty, is a mild and creamy curry sauce with a distinctively rich, almost silky flavor. The basis for Korma is a mixture of yoghurt, cream and pureed cashews blended with toasted spices. OM prepares it to your specified level of piquancy, however, ask for any potency beyond medium and you risk degrading the rich, complex flavors of the spice and sauce meld. The seafood–scallops, shrimp and mahi mahi–is slowly simmered in the sauce so it’s infused with flavor. This may well be the most memorable Korma dish I’ve had, besting my previous favorite from an Indian restaurant in London. The portion size is generous so you’ll be taking some home. You’ll luxuriate in the aromas that fill your kitchen.
Desserts, if you manage to save room for them, are outstanding! The carrot pudding (halwa), a wonderfully unique dessert composed of grated carrots and ground nuts prepared in butter and boiled milk then lightly sweetened with raisins, is my early favorite. Served warm, it showcases the natural sweetness of carrots while removing any residual bitterness. At the other end of the spectrum texturally is mango kulfi, an Indian ice cream that is more dense and “more frozen” than American ice creams. Besides mango, the most pronounced flavor comes from sweetened condensed milk complemented with cardamom.
18 February 2013: Paddy pays tribute to the Land of Enchantment with a stuffed Poblano, a New Mexican-Indian fusion appetizer served with a side of mint-coriander chutney. You’ll recognize the “innards” as the contents with which Indian Samosas are stuffed: spiced mashed potatoes and peas. The Poblano barely registers on the Scoville Scale of piquancy, but the chutney seems to bring out whatever heat is inherent with the pepper. While this is a nice dish, my native pride would have preferred a nicely roasted New Mexico Hatch green chile.
As noted above, OM specializes in naan, the wonderful Indian flat bread prepared in a tandoor. Roti is the whole wheat alternative, a wedge-shaped bread often found in Malaysian restaurants, too. OM’s roti is quite good though not as moist and buttery as the naan. Still, it’s not a bread any diner would kick off their plate. As with naan, the roti goes very well with chutneys, especially the tamarind.
OM’s menu includes a number of Indian-Chinese fusion dishes. Ask Paddy why he would combine the flavors of two ancient culinary traditions and he will remind you he’s a chef–not a chef who specializes in Indian food, but a chef formally trained in more than ten different cuisines. He hopes someday to launch, perhaps in San Francisco, a restaurant showcasing a fusion of Italian and Indian food. Paddy has already conceptualized several dishes he hopes to introduce to intrepid diners.
You don’t have to be an adventurous diner to appreciate OM’s Chilli (SIC) Chicken, boneless chicken sauteed and cooked with ginger and garlic then finished in a tomato-based Szechuan sauce. Appearances can be very deceptive. At first glance you might think the crimson sauce will be as cloying as most Chinese sweet and sour sauces, but that’s certainly not the case. The sauce has a savory-tart flavor profile, emphasizing the sour (but not overly so) aspects of sweet and sour. The all white meat boneless chicken is tender and moist. Vegetables–red and green peppers, onions–are perfectly prepared.
Diners who enjoy Thai curry, but who don’t necessarily appreciate the qualities of Indian curry will almost certainly enjoy OM’s Chicken Madras, perhaps the one dish most responsible for winning over converts to Indian cuisine. Named for the city of Madras, it’s a dish as varied as the hundreds of recipes from which it’s prepared. This hearty tomato-based curry is redolent with the spices of curry leaves, ginger, mustard, coconut milk and peppercorn. It can be prepared to the degree of heat you desire, but too much piquancy and you might not appreciate the richness and sophistication of the flavors. Chicken Madras may be the perfect winter entree, as heart-warming an entree as your favorite winter soup.
OM, by the way, is not an abbreviation. It represents a mystical Sanskrit sound of Hindu origin, a sacred chant considered the “primordial seed” of the universe. Om is considered the “root mantra” from which all other mantras emerge. Ancient sages believed that through chanting om, one can experience the infinite within themselves.
In 2012, Raaga was selected as one of the best new restaurants in America by Kunda Eats, the only restaurant in New Mexico honored. It will surprise absolutely no one if OM garners a similar accolade in 2013. Duke City diners will beat a path to this restaurant, already one of the best in the city in any genre–and the path is familiar, too. OM is located at the former site of Annapurna Ayurvedic Cuisine.
Paddy Rawal’s OM – Fine Indian Dining
7520 4th Street, N.W.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
LATEST VISIT: 18 February 2013
1st VISIT: 12 November 2012
# OF VISITS: 2
COST: $$ – $$$
BEST BET: Chana Chaat, Ancho Amchur Crusted Tandoori Chicken, Seafood Korma, Carrot Pudding, Mango Kulfi, Mango Lassi,
23 thoughts on “Paddy Rawal’s OM- Fine Indian Dining – Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)”
My name is charles and i have found that you have closed in santa fey N Mexico. Do you plan to reopen or relocate and if so where. I have great things about cuisin
Chef Paddy Rawal closed his fabulous Santa Fe Indian food restaurant Raaga on Saturday, September 23rd. Here’s what was posted on Raaga’s Website: “It is with deep sadness that we announce Raaga will close Saturday, Sept. 23. Upon the advice of his physician, Chef Paddy can no longer maintain the pace that Raaga demands. He will be fine, but needs to make some painful decisions. Please come in this last week to taste Raaga’s fine cuisine and give the Chef a hug.”
I think that you can call OM closed. Mr Rawal has sold it and the name is now Taste of Himalayas and everything indicates that no review of OM now is applicable.
Even with Mr. Rawal gone, this is still the best Indian in the city. When getting takeout there last night, it was pretty empty even for a wednesday so I am hoping it is still doing well. Anyone who loves good food, give this place a try!
I am mixed having the Buffet at OM today. The positives – great company with Sensei, good cabbage and fried vegetables, Naan very good and Chai nice flavor. I frown upon chicken legs and that was the only type of tandoori chicken available; I will have thighs but it begs the question why are there no chicken breasts at Indian Buffets?? I heard the restaurant was sold so we shall see if anything changes in the future. Again, joining the blogster himself is truly a treat.
This place is the best Indian restaurant in the state, and it really isn’t even close…and one of the best restaurants of any kind in Albuquerque. Everything is great, but recent favorites include the lamb palak, lamb vindaloo, and chicken madras. The vegetarian curries are great too.
-Update: Wine and Beer are now available.
-A few days ago had the Hot and Sour Soup from the Indian Chinese Fusion section of the menu. PROM’s version is a munificent array of bits of veggies, perhaps more so than others, served generously in not the usual cup or bowl, but a ‘boat’…LOL… and is a must-have IMHO. As sooo typical, the Chicken Manchurian was great and its sauce a superb dip for the Naan. Wait staff continue fine service.
-(PS Less one wonders, Paddy concurred that ‘OM’ is indeed as The Mantra and demonstrated.)
My wife and I dined at OM middle of last week.
Our second visit.
Again everything we had we enjoyed.
A terrific chicken korma, the Ancho Amchur chicken, perfect again.
Two naan orders, one rosemary and olive oil, the second a cheese naan.
Samosas as an appetizer were good.
And razmallai for my wife while I had the deliciously simple carrot pudding.
As an additional treat Maggie Gillendahl (sp?) was dining there as well.
Of course we were happy to have Chef Rawal stop by.
Started the new year with another great lunch at OM. Talking with Paddy Rawal we discovered why his naan is so delicious. He makes it from scratch from his own recipe which, as I recall, he said contains no eggs, yeast or milk and cooks it in his tandoor. He also makes his own pappadams–also great–which are again baked in the tandoor. Gotta try dinner there when the days get a bit longer.
Had the buffet at OM today for lunch and OMG! OM is, as they say in the land of OZ, fan-bloody-tastic!! Walking through the door our noses told us we were in for a wonderful experience and the food did not disappoint.
Today they had a great tomato and fennel soup that could have been a meal in itself. The vegetable pakoras were extraordinary. The tandoori chicken some of the best we’ve ever had. The flavors in all the dishes were complex and delicious. Even the naan was better than we’ve had elsewhere.
The chef, Paddy Rawal, was most gracious. He stopped by our table, and everyone else’s for that matter, several times to chat and see what we thought. (He was one of the very few who knew what we were talking about when we mentioned Bombay ducks!) Kay and I both told him that OM was without question the very best Indian restaurant in town.
We’ll be making the pilgrimage from mortgage heights to sample more delights at OM.
Yes indeed, the commenters on Gil’s Thrilling are spot on in their assessments of OM, Paddy Rawal’s new eatery.
The Ancho Amchur Tandoori Chicken was perfectly cooked with flavor first and a wonderful heat the showed up gradually and had a fabulous dipping sauce.
The naans were terrific.
The appetizers were light and flavored to perfection.
OM has my wife’s favorite dessert, razmallai, which didn’t disappoint.
For me, and the other diners, a visit from Chef Rawal was both fun and enlightening.
If you want to hear a narrative which reflects the American dream you only have to listen to the Chef describe his journey from his home in India.
His voice is filled with joy, and determination, and more joy.
But go for the food, then be regaled by the joy,
It’s a very large menu so plan to go back and back and back, it’s worth the trip.
I had the lunch buffet here yesterday, and it was really, really good. I really liked the $8.95 buffet price as well. The Chicken Tikka Masala was the standout, without question. Very flavorful and velvety. The only thing I didn’t care for was the rice pudding, which has a rose flavored finish that kind of reminded me of soap or shampoo. All in all, a fantastic lunch spot and I will visit again soon.
Also…stay tuned for the rebirth of Break The Chain as a TV show!
Well Thank you there Gil! While having passed the age range cap (which may leave others in a quandry,) I’ll keep it in mind for further down the road! Similarly, I’ll keep this tidbit in mind that the “Fenugreek seed is widely used as a galactagogue by nursing mothers to increase inadequate breast milk supply.” should the situation come to pass in my near future.
In the meantime, I’d like to pass this on to reader’s herein: http://tinyurl.com/y2fg33 particularly in light of some “momentary”
peace around the planet (@ 7:11 MST 11/21/12)
Fine dining indeed at these ‘everyday-man’s’ prices http://www.omindiandining.com/menu.html! Ya gotta be thinking they’re yanking your chain; Y’all might be flummoxed at the least! But there you are in this neo-avant garde setting in this funky looking building! I don’t know what it’s like at lunch, but as the sun sets you are not eating, but dining given the ambiance of the mood lighting as well…Oh did I mention the cloth napkins?
From the variety of the menu and my naivete, I was tempted into having the Chicken Korma…white pieces swimming in a Fenugreek and Cashew Creme Sauce. Eh! while sounding intimidating, I found from reading elsewhere Fenugreek’s “an annual herb with a slightly sweet, nutty flavor often described as a cross between celery and maple”…indeed intriguing. As with most everything, you have a choice for your degree of heat. I chose medium which was fine, but if you be spoiled with rich New Mexican heat, go the step-up to Hot.
While perhaps not as endowed as some of the other Folk herein with a plethora of discerning taste buds, and per age and years of past smoking, the maple, thankfully, didn’t whop me upside the head, but the mixture, in gastronomical terminology, was “Yummy” when periodically spooned over the included Basmati Rice. While bread with meals was a ‘custom’ in many of our youths and like a tortilla might be out here, neither of which I ever really got into, I highly recommend a plain, at the least, serving of Naan for itself and as an accompaniment… lest I confess sacrilegiously, I wondered how it might serve as the ‘wrap’ for a breakfast burrito! (I suggest one as a couple, with a re-order if need be, so it easily then be ‘warm’…like you would with a tortilla.)
Reportedly approved for a beer-wine license, a serving target is 12/11, but ya don’t need to wait as the Ice Tea, for example, is hearty and nice compliment.
Service was as to be expected and I appreciated not being asked if I wanted change for my Cash in sight. Indeed owner Paddy will also check up on you and you will find him a most cordial Host as well.
I’ll have to agree with The Larry’s “Best Newbie” accolade to which I’d add:
“Acchī sehat ke lie” (i.e. Salud!, Na Zdrowie!, etc.) to the success of this new addition to the Village of Los Ranchos!
Don’t let this one pass you by ABQians!
In addition to it’s delicious properties, Fenugreek has healthful qualities including some a bachelor about town like you might appreciate–A June 2011 study at the Australian Centre for Integrative Clinical and Molecular Medicine found that men aged 25 to 52 who took a fenugreek extract twice daily for six weeks scored 25% higher on tests gauging libido levels than those who took a placebo. Fenugreek has also been found to lower blood glucose levels, and in the few studies using it as a hypoglycemic, also reduces blood cholesterol.
Thanks for the review, Gil! I only learned about this place from your coverage. H and I like to “test out” a new Indian restaurant by trying their lunch buffet, and OM was the best I’ve had in recent memory. Tandoori chicken, usually pretty bland and dry in most buffets, was juicy and extremely flavorful. The naan was thin and chewy, really delicious. I thought everything showed care in preparation and attention to detail, which is really impressive for a lunch buffet. We’ll definitely be back for dinner.
Gil, Sounds great….If a may: so as not to bedevil the distinguished Foodies herein in finding it, Paddy Rawal’s Fine Indian Dining took over the space of Annapurna’s on 4th NW which is actually in the Village of Los Ranchos, i.e. not ABQ as so listed, just to the south of Los Ranchos Rd. NW. (Annapurna recently moved south on 4th into the former Dion’s Pizza in ABQ of all places, just south of 4th’s intersection with Guadalupe Trail ((yes GT, as a former ‘cow path?’, does meander from its general N-S path, into 4th near Smith’s grocery store)). Dion’s moved up into the Village of Los Ranchos just north of Solar Rd. wherebe Sadie’s/a Lotaburger/Luigi’s/a Little Anita’s take out/Ezra’s and Sophia’s Place (which also should be re-listed as in The Village). Bottom line: Paddy Rawal’s OM Fine Indian Dining should be noted to be in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque as you note for other spots like Prime, Vernon’s Hidden Valley Steakhouse, PappaBurgers/Casa de Benavidez, El Camino, JB’s. I.e. about a dozen versus only 5 Y’all have tagged under “Los Ranchos”.
Moving over to ‘the edge of dining’ perhaps, i.e. lest we consider The Grape as ‘food’, perhaps some day Y’all might consider exploring the tasting room (and environs) of the internationally awarded and local efforts of Casa Rondena Winery lest Folks venture this way! http://casarondena.com/ In addition, albeit I’ve never been (blush), there are apparently clandestine gustatorial delights at the historical/local/garden-to-plate (as Los Noveau now spin) Los Poblanos Inn http://tinyurl.com/akd7vhb Lastly,ripe off the vine, D-i-Y Foodies may wish to check out the Growers Market http://tinyurl.com/cvzurrs
As I am always want to say, “Lo, we are NOT stuffy as mitote might be want to say!” as frivolously pictured here http://tinyurl.com/d9283oz for example.
(Pardon the length of this per my usual parsimonious comments, but I will be alerting Mayor Abraham of The Village to your Review lest he might include a reference to Paddy Rawal’s OM Fine Indian Dining in a upcoming issue of the Village Vision newletter/magazine. As such, I’d encourage him to note your Blog for Villagers’ overall edification. Obviously, I’m thinking the Village is proud to be a part of what I consider to be The ABQ Restaurant Row of Camino Real from Barelas Coffee House, Red Ball Cafe, past Garcia’s, Mary & Tito’s up beyond Bruno’s, newbie Farm to Table, El Rincon to (for some) El Pinto! Did I mention Dine n Shop for the Holidays? After Yum Yums, there are almost a dozen Antique shoppes within a mile of each other in The Village after which Folks may make their way to Olde Town for more locally owned, unique, eclectic gifts therein!!!
Just had the lunch buffet. Yummm! Even at the buffet everything tastes fresh and bright. $8.95 for all you can eat. About half the dishes were vegan. Best Chicken Tikka Masala I have ever had. Sauce was complex and interesting, but it didn’t overwhelm the chicken. Tandoori chicken was great, too. The Nan was so crisp and flaky you could almost see through it. The carrot pudding was the perfect dessert to finish everything off. Service was outstanding.
Hope your readers will try OM soon and make it a commercial success – we sure could use a good Indian restaurant in ABQ!!
Gil — I have already given Paddy Rawal’s OM my 2012 Best Newcomer of the Year award, and the year is not even over.
For your next visit, you must try
Surmai Kofta — Dumplings, spinach and fenugreek in a cashew cream sauce. This sauce is the base for the sauces in my entrées two nights ago.
Call me anytime you want the company of the perspicacious palate. I can no longer drive.
The hours are posted on the window next to the front door. If my memory is not failing, that do lunch from 11:00 to 2:23 and reopen for dinner at 5:00. Probably closes at 9:30, but that’s past my bedtime. 🙂
Thanks for the great review–it looks fantastic!
One comment, directed more at the restaurant than you: what are the days and hours of operation? I couldn’t find that information anywhere on their website!
Thank you, Jen. Paddy Rawal’s OM Fine Indian Dining restaurant is indeed a fantastic addition to the Duke City dining scene. According to Urbanspoon, it is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, but no specific times are given.
Restaurant Web sites often commit two cardinal sins–they don’t list their hours and their addresses on their home page. Often those are the two things diners look for first. Because restaurateurs tend to be very creative people, their creativity sometimes makes its way to their Web sites. Some restaurant Web sites are so busy “entertaining” and impressing visitors that they don’t provide the basic information we’re looking for.