Lovers of the Indian Oven - and the Oven's a player with tons of lovers - might suddenly be motivated to stray. See, the Oven's handsome younger brother has blown into town, and he's just as hot as the Oven, only even more interesting and exotic. Plus - and this'll be a big plus for potential paramours - this Oven lives in an easily accessible neighborhood.

Lovers of the Indian Oven - and the Oven's a player with tons of lovers - might suddenly be motivated to stray. See, the Oven's handsome younger brother has blown into town, and he's just as hot as the Oven, only even more interesting and exotic. Plus - and this'll be a big plus for potential paramours - this Oven lives in an easily accessible neighborhood.

Located on Olentangy River Road near Ackerman, Radhuni is the attractive newbie, and its seductive cuisine and proximity to Clintonville, OSU, Upper Arlington and Grandview portend a lengthy list of future friends. Count me on that already.

Radhuni (Bengali for a potent and popular spice) occupies a brightly colored and sleek space that's long and narrow, completely kitsch-less and virtually decoration free. Other than a couple of large and unconventional architectural storage elements, the eye-catchers are limited to a fire-engine-red, sky-high ceiling and smooth, cream-colored walls further cooled off by deep swaths of soothing blue paint.

Radhuni's food is as distinct as its appearance. Oh sure, you can get all of those ho-hum same-old same-olds like Tandoori Chicken, but what makes this place special are dynamite and much rarer dishes, many Bengali in origin.

For a hearty starter, target the large and excellent Alu Kabobs ($6.25). Considering they're huge and un-skewered tuber croquettes (alu means potato), they're misleadingly labeled. Considering they're absolutely delicious - a puffy and plump quartet of crispy-breadcrumbed, cumin-kissed mashers with chopped hard egg in the middle - who cares?

Equally fun - if a bit greasy - were fried Indochinese treats called Cabbage Chicken Rolls ($7). These were like handmade spring rolls jammed with cabbage and a bunch of super-satisfying, mustard seed-powered minced curried chicken.

Chicken again was uncommonly interesting in two standout features listed under House Specialties (where I was directed by well-informed waiters). Chickpea Chicken ($13) was a bone-in half chicken stewed in a rich split garbanzo bean base bearing an intensified, dal-like flavor. Adding to the finger-licking party were finger-staining turmeric, ginger and a blast of what tasted like that crazy (and for me, addictive) Indian condiment called mixed pickle.

The Roasted Chicken ($14) is one of those killer dinners with a prosaic name belying mouth-walloping flavors. Another half bird on the bone was perfectly, succulently roasted and drenched in a complex, sweet and spicy, thick and sticky sauce featuring long-cooked onions with a zingy and cardamom-leavened curry kick.

Moving beyond poultry, the Shrimp Biryani ($17) had a lot going on also. Basically a shareable saffron rice dish, it was populated with sweet little freshwater shrimp, coconut, raisins, crushed nuts, peas and Indian aromatics.

My only problem with the luscious, unctuous and falling-off-the-bone Bengali Lamb Shank ($15) was that I wanted more. A glistening, smallish leg of lamb was slathered with a tangy, rich and vinegar-aroused gravy deepened by red and green peppers.

Potatoes and rice were provided to sop up every last bit of the wonderful sauce - but if you still lick your plate when nobody's looking, I'd understand.

For a refreshing but comforting dessert, try the cool and pleasantly viscous Fruit Custard ($5). Healthier than it tastes, it's tangy homemade yogurt moderately sweetened with "a touch of cream" and chopped mangoes and mandarin oranges.

Sure, Indian Oven also offers that, but (shhhh) it's cheaper - and there's more things to do afterward nearby - at Radhuni.