I grew up in the San Francisco area, so I've frequented some pretty amazing Indian restaurants. For years it was my go-to comfort food. Since moving to Burlington, I've yet to find comparable fare, so I resigned myself to going without.
Then I got pregnant with my second child and not having Indian food was no longer an option. So one Sunday evening, four months pregnant and craving, I desperately scoured the internet for the closest authentic Indian food. That's when I stumbled across Rickie's Indian Restaurant, run out of a gas station in South Barre, an hour away.
I justified the drive by hitting up another destination along the way: a maple sugar farm. Bad idea. While it was a big hit with my almost-3-year-old son, Levi, we had so much fun we didn't leave until well past nap time.
Better late than never. When we arrived at Rickie's Indian, which from the outside looks like your average gas station, the Indian couple at the register greeted us warmly. We ordered our food from the whiteboard, then headed outside to run around during the 25-minute wait.
I wanted the full Rickie's gas-station experience, so we decided to dine in. It was a good choice. The fresh-from-the-tandoor naan was perfectly blistered, with little pools of clarified butter on crisp-edged, yet meltingly tender, triangles of dough. I hadn't had anything like it in years.
Levi's chicken kebab was also a hit. Marinated in yogurt, it was delicious, tender and not a bit spicy. My chicken curry had bright notes of cilantro with an earthy undertone — perfect to take the chill off a morning spent outdoors. Then there was my husband's butter chicken. This dish was incredible — a blend of cream and spice that left us staring at each other wide-eyed. It had just enough heat to carry the flavor through, as well as creaminess to cut the spice perfectly.
It was the best butter chicken I've had — not just in Vermont, but anywhere.
The food is so good, in fact, that you may forget you're in the back of a gas station.
But your toddler will not. After a few bites of naan, Levi tried to climb into the freezer cases behind him to snag a pint of ice cream. He then proceeded to throw the epic fit we deserved after depriving him of his nap.
We packed up our food and got all the way to the Williston rest stop before he fell asleep so we could pull over and indulge. After our meal — which came to $43 for the three of us — we felt pleasantly stuffed and had plenty left over for dinner. My only regret is that we didn't order more.
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