Indian to-go

Illustration By Mark Stivers

Quick, what kind of food do you think of when you hear the words “sprawling shopping center in Natomas”? If the answer wasn’t tasty, spicy Indian stews and curries with fresh-baked garlic naan on the side, think again, and then head out to Mati’s Indian Express (3880 Truxel Road, (916) 285-0532, to get some. It’s a cute, spare little shop, with turmeric and neon-lime walls, and a lineup of several basic items available in rice-bowl combos: I liked the savory, rich, chocolate-brown lamb curry, the dusky aloo gobi enlivened with the rough crunch of whole spices and the brightly tomatoey butter chicken. The char-edged, floppy, butter-garlicky naan was lovely for sopping up the sauces, and they also make a big, sweet mango lassi. Not sure you’ll like it? Heat levels are stated for all the dishes—and you can request a sample before you order. Mati’s pretty much defines cheap and cheerful—and they cater, too.