Phoenicians need not travel to India to sample lassi, a drink that blends yogurt, water, and sugar (pretty much the Indian version of an ice-cold shake). Several Indian restaurants in the Valley make their own. Here are a few spots to hit up as the summer heat drags on.
New AZ India Gate4939 West Ray Road, #1, Chandler
There is a risk in trying mango lassi. The puree can overpower the yogurt and dilute the tang of a traditional lassi. New AZ India Gate owners and brothers, Pardip and Gopi Singh, don't have this problem. The brothers buy local and fresh. The lassi tastes fresh, the swirl of orange puree and yogurt mixed together for a milkshake consistency that complements the chicken tikka, samosas, and the saag paneer. A $2.99 price tag is a bargain for the size and freshness.
Marigold Maison4720 East Cactus Road
Marigold Maison caters to an upscale crowd, and its lassi reflects this. The mango lassi here includes rose water, and is garnished with a toothpick of mini-mangoes — almost like a daiquiri. The yogurt and mango are blended together well, yielding a subtle sour taste. Marigold's lassi has a homemade quality to it, but that doesn't mean chunks of mango are found in the drink. It is seamless, but you pay a premium at $5.
Tandoori Times 2 Indian Bistro5626 West Bell Road, Suite A-103, Glendale
Most places have mango lassi, but typically don't offer plain lassi, a staple in India. The plain lassi at Tandoori Times reminded me of my childhood, when my mom churned yogurt in our Texas home. Not too tangy, it was clear the yogurt wasn't over-fermented. The sweet lassi showed evidence of fresh churning; bubbles foam at the top and there's a light quality. Mango lassi isn't as successful here. Canned mango puree makes the drink too sweet, spoiling the yogurt's freshness. The price for all three added up to under $11.
Om Bistro18631 North 19th Avenue, #150
You may roll your eyes at the styrofoam cups, but Om Bistro's lassi brings real flavor There are two options, mango lassi and sweet lassi. The frothy mango lassi has a touch of tang, but isn't overly sweet. With the sweet lassi, be prepared for a bit of a honey-like rush, as the main ingredients are yogurt and sugar. The other fact that makes Om Bistro's lassis appealing is the price — $2.49, which is hard to resist.
Mint Indian Cuisine8752 East Shea Boulevard, Suite C11,Scottsdale
Mint Indian Cuisine offers a mango and sweet lassi. The mango lassi has an orange-yellow glow similar to others in town. There is one main difference — this blend is tart and leaves a drying aftertaste. The tang is so strong and somewhat overpowering, so don't opt for this lassi unless you're into tartness. The second version, the sweet, uses sugar to dilute the tang ... but a little too much sugar. So don't go for this unless you enjoy an extra sweet drink. The sweet version is $2.99, while the mango will run you $3.99.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on June 20, 2018. It was updated on August 6, 2020. See what Valley restaurants are offering takeout, delivery, and dine-in services. Find Indian cuisine and many more Phoenix-area eateries in our Phoenix Restaurant Directory.
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