Friday 18 Apr

Permanent parking, mobile food

A plan to create a permanent food truck park in Midtown passed the Downtown Design Review Committee (DDRC) on April 17. The creator, Hunter Wheat, based it on other permanent food parks around the country, including places like New York, the Dallas/Ft. Worth-area and Austin, Texas.
04/18/2014 | Comments 0

Smooth pop

Ah, springtime in Oklahoma and the joy of eating food from a street vendor. Just in time for the warm weather, two new mobile concepts want you to chill out.
04/16/2014 | Comments 0


No single holiday has done more to ruin the reputation of eggs than Easter.
04/16/2014 | Comments 0

OKG7 eat: Fresh off the farm

There was a time not too terribly long ago in Oklahoma City when there was a chain on every corner and the closest you could get to local was to make a trip to your farmers market and make the food yourself. We always celebrate all things local, and luckily, it’s getting easier for OKC restaurants to incorporate locally grown, all- natural ingredients into what they offer.

— By Devon Green

photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman

04/16/2014 | Comments 0

OKG7 eat: Soccer pub crawl

Football season is finally here! We call it soccer, but that doesn’t have to stop you from indulging in two favorite European traditions: walking and pub crawling. Since the Energy FC games will be alcohol-free, we’ve created a list of pubs and taverns within walking distance from Clement E. Pribil Stadium at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School.

— by Devon Green 

photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman

04/09/2014 | Comments 0

OGK7 eat: Dollars to doughnuts

While the idea of fried dough may or may not be American in origin, the traditional ring-shaped confection that we know and love does originate here. According to The Smithsonian, doughnuts were created by an enterprising New England sailor’s mother who wanted a way to store and transport pastry. Regardless of its origin, the doughnut is a modern favorite.

— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman 

04/02/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Food · Restaurant Reviews · Curry in a hurry
Restaurant Reviews

Curry in a hurry

Fiery to mild Indian cuisine is served up à la casual at Spice and Rice.

Doug Hill January 9th, 2013

Spice and Rice
770 DeBarr, Norman

What worked:
high-quality food at lower prices
What needs work:
Addition of beer to the menu would complement the highly spiced cuisine.
family recipes that haven’t been compromised for American tastes  

spice+n+rice+chicken+tikka+boti+05mhCredit: Mark Hancock

Spice and Rice is behind a filling station and convenience store on the east edge of Norman’s Campus Corner. Because of close proximity to campus and limited space in the tiny strip mall, parking is a bit of a nuisance, but it’s worth the hassle.

Don’t go looking for fancy at this one-room restaurant, which has a tiny dining area on one side and stainless steel racks of Indian grocery staples on the other. Orders are placed at a counter, and everything is served in Styrofoam containers. Don’t let the simplicity fool you, however. It’s the kind of place people searching for authentic ethnic food delight in discovering.

The homey ambience is inviting and unpretentious. Bollywood pop plays on the sound system, and suppliers deliver fresh produce through the front door. Cinder block walls are painted bright red and adorned with Indian folk art.

But the quality of the cuisine is at the same level or higher than any of the more swanky Indian restaurants around the metro.

“The taste of our food is really authentic,” said Shamin Merchant, spouse of Kabir Merchant, who owns and operates Spice and Rice. “The chicken and beef we serve is 100 percent halal, because we want to serve the Muslim community, too.”

Spice and Rice has not tamed its family recipes for American tastes, either. Its customer base has been largely the University of Oklahoma community, many of them international students who appreciate the vivid, authentic flavors of India.

Hot hot hot
Chicken Vindaloo ($6.99) is a scorcher — hands down the spiciest I’ve ever tasted in an American restaurant. The dish is a staple of curry houses globally, and just how hot it is depends on where you are.
This little joint in Norman must rival the rest of world’s vindaloos for fiery taste. It isn’t skimping on the chili, ginger and cumin. It was hot but good. You need plenty of beverage to go along with this vindaloo. 

There’s no beer or any other alcohol on the menu, but it has Sweet Lassi ($2.99), a Punjabi-style creamy shake made with yogurt and rose water.

Chicken 65 is fried white meat that’s a vibrant brick red color from cayenne and other spices. Big chunks of chicken marinated in mustard and vinegar are then garnished with cilantro and served with basmati rice. The dish’s name derives from its popularity with Indian soldiers assigned to a Tamil-speaking district. They couldn’t read the menus, so they ordered by number.

The most popular menu item, according to Shamin Merchant, is chicken tikka masala ($7.99).
“Anybody who wants to try Indian food for the very first time should try that,” he said.
Tomato, paprika and coriander give the dish its familiar orange glow. Noticeably striking flavors come from spice variations in family recipes.

Platters ($7.99-$9.99) are a complete meal with an entrée, lentil stew daal, rice, naan and rice pudding for dessert. Except for these platters, naan or flatbread may be ordered separately. Order a side of naan ($1.29) if you don’t get a platter because it’s one of those easily overlooked fundamentals in which Spice and Rice shines. The bread is baked fresh and comes with distinctive griddle marks and a substantial chewy texture. 

Vegetable Birynai ($6.99) would be a treat for any of your vegetarian pals. Order this for them and you’ll have a friend forever. It’s a stir of basmati rice and mixed veggies with complex and rich flavors. 

The courageous blast of tamarind, ginger and turmeric shows why Spice goes ahead of Rice in this place’s name. 

Oklahoma Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when appropriate.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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