Grab a menu at Aliís Roti Restaurant, and youíll discover the ingredients of Aliís curry, as well as their alleged health benefits. According to the owners, the food at Aliís ó which is seasoned with (deep breath here) garlic, fennel, fenugreek, turmeric, coriander, cilantro, thyme, ajowan, Congo peppers, and anise ó will, among other things, fortify your spleen, liver, and kidney; dispel fatigue and nervousness; diminish throat and chest congestion; and tone the male reproductive organs.
Skepticism may be warranted. But thereís another, incontrovertible plus to Aliís cuisine: it tastes good, and thereís plenty of it. Consider the large curry-goat dinner ($7.99), in which a dozen or so nuggets of goat are stewed, on separate shards of bone, and served with three side dishes. The on-bone preparation renders the goat pleasingly tender, and minimizes its gaminess while retaining plenty of flavor. Two of the side selections ó potatoes and cabbage ó are automatic: the potatoes are just short of mashed, and boast a subtle but lingering heat, while the cabbage (prepared with pigeon peas and carrots) possesses an almost Eastern-European mildness. As a third side, I chose the kidney beans and rice, which had a deep, almost buttery richness.
Every animal protein at Aliís (including kingfish steak, curry shrimp, stewed chicken thighs, and stewed oxtail, to name a few) can be ordered as a roti wrap (the West Indian equivalent of a burrito) or as a stand-alone dinner. This includes the specialty of the house, Aliís Pelau ($7.99/large dinner), in which slow-cooked rice is teamed with stewed chicken thighs and pigeon peas. Whatever you get, make sure to request a side of pepper sauce, which resembles a vinegary, garlicky Tabasco, and use it liberally. Itís hot stuff, but very tasty.
Aliís Roti Restaurant, located at 1188 Blue Hill Avenue, in Mattapan, is open Monday through Thursday, from 11 am to 9 pm, and Friday and Saturday, until 10 pm. Call 617.298.9850. A second location, at 1035 Tremont Street, in Roxbury, is open Monday through Wednesday, from 11 am to 7 pm, and Thursday through Saturday, until 8 pm. Call 617.427.1079.