Address: Various locations around SF (Van Ness, Jackson, Irving, O'Farrell, etc.)
Date Visited: May 30, 2007
Dining Partner: Ate Di
Ate Di and I needed a place to eat where we were going to get full in the tummy, but still have a full wallet. She said the day before our date that she wanted some Indian food. So I met her up after classes and we had a 10-minute walk to the Naan N’ Curry location on O’Farrell and Mason. We never went to this location before because we usually go to the one either on Van Ness, Irving or Jackson. We were across the street and we could already smell the food.
It was just a few minutes after Noon, so it was not surprising to see a line out the door. When we finally entered the restaurant, we smelled the spices and it almost looked smoky in there. We knew that we would smell like curry after we were done eating. So we waited in line for 5-10 minutes, and there was a menu we could look at.
We decided on one plate of chicken with cauliflower, one chicken tikka masala, two orders of basmati rice, a ground chicken kebab, a mango lassi for me, one potato naan for me, and one garlic naan for her. We go to the counter and tell him the order. What really confused me was when after Ate said her order for the chicken with cauliflower, he asked if she wanted a thigh, leg or breast piece. I was confused because I thought it was a stew, but I didn’t say anything because I never seen it before. Another thing that turned me off was that he was rushing us for our order. He kept saying, “You need to be fast. You need to be fast.”
Um, hello, Mr. Man. We need to talk slowly because you don’t understand what we are saying…Ugh. Anyway, he was just being very pushy and disrespectful. Granted, there were people in line behind us, but why should he force us to hurry up? We were talking as fast as we could, and if they really wanted to eat here, none of them in line would leave. He took our money. And gave no receipt. Everything he wrote on the order slip was in abbreviations, so it was hard for us to distinguish what he wrote down. He could have charged us more and we didn’t even notice. He wanted us out of his face pronto.
Anyway, we sat at our table, one that just so happened to be one with stools. Ate Di expressed that this place was nicer than the one on Jackson. I never been to that one, but I did tell her that the one on Van Ness was my preferred location. She asked if the service was the same at the Van Ness one, and I replied saying that the cashier at the Van Ness one was MUCH nicer. This location was a lot darker because there were cloths dimming the lights. They also covered the sprinklers. Is that legal?
For those who haven’t been at a place like this, the way it works is that you get your own plates, glasses, water, condiments, napkins, etc. The servers just bring you your food.
By the time I got back to the table, the rice and the kebab was already there. The kebab looked funny. It looked like something less appetizing, so it was very amusing. However, I found myself surprised when I tasted it. The herbs are verdant-tasting and there is a spicy kick at the end. At 1.99 a kebab, you can't go wrong with that. Wrap naan around that and make yourself an Indian commuter sandwich!
But what else I noticed was that they brought over a breast piece of tandoori chicken. I do like the tandoori chicken, but we did not order it! Ate didn’t seem to mind that we got that instead of the cauliflower, but shoot. They are not supposed to mess up the order. Now it made sense why the cashier asked what type of piece Ate wanted. That’s why we talk slowly, Mr. Man. So you get the order right! GAH!
Okay, I do like tandoori chicken. I usually order it, but since Ate was supposed to get the cauliflower I skipped ordering it this time. But since they brought it to us anyway, I'm going to speak on it. I LOVE IT! It's spicy. So be warned. The chicken has a nice smokiness running through it, and the spices are the key to this. ($3-$6, depending on the type of meat you want)
Anyway, I like lemon with my chicken, so I went back to the condiment bar to grab some lemon wedges. I really wish they had little labels saying what was there. There were people who really knew what they were eating, but I was too shy to ask. But there was lemon, fresh jalapeno peppers, iceberg lettuce tossed with tomatoes, sliced onions, among other things.
When I got back to the table the second time, the rest of the food was there, but they brought out an extra mango drink. Hmmm. They really really really got the order wrong. They left out the cauliflower, gave us the wrong chicken, and brought out an extra mango lassi.
This was my first time trying this beverage. The mango lassi was sweet and refreshing. Call it a mango smoothie if you will. The flavors were very fresh. Not artificial tasting at all. Loved it. ($2)
HOWEVER, I SO wanted to complain about our orders being wrong, but I didn’t want to deal with the cashier. He already gave me a bad experience.
So here’s the rundown on the meal:
Rice ($2) - I'm Filipino. I have to have rice in every meal for it to be satisfying. The rice here is nice and soft. Not hard at all. =)
Chicken Tikka Masala ($6) - You can't go wrong with Tikka Masala. The curry was nice, mild, and creamy. The chicken pieces were meaty because they use white breast meat. Love it!
Potato Naan ($2) - Seriously, I can take the chicken kebab, stuff it in the potato naan and eat it like a hot dog while walking around in the City. I love potatoes! The potatoes are smashed in the dough and it is so buttery. Oh man. I would go back just for this.
Garlic Naan ($2) - If you love garlic, this is the naan for you. The garlic is pungent and so so so so good. Make you have breath mints on hand!
Would I come here again? Yeah. Eventually. If I really have to. But I would much rather go to the one on Van Ness. The man at this one was just rude, pushy, and inefficient. Mr. Man, if you had taken your time, you would have gotten our order right. Granted the food was delish, but I was turned off even before we got the food.
Zagat rated this place very high for 2007. I mean, the atmosphere is dark and mysterious. The food is great and cheap.
We had all our food for under 24 dollars. Well, I don’t know how accurately we paid since our order was turned upside down, but overall, this small chain gets your full for a small price. The service is okay. It’s not the greatest, particularly at this location. Like I said before, the cashier at Van Ness is nicer, maybe because he is younger, but that’s really no excuse either way. But there is one thing I know for sure, you will smell like your meal hours after you have eaten it.
I tried Indian food for the first time last year and I have fallen in love with it. I never thought I would like it. If it weren't for my cousin Star, I would probably never eat it. There are people I know who are petrified of it. The smells of the spices might scare some people off, but it's really not as bad as some people say it is. I actually find it very very delicious.
You never know until you try.
And this food is worth a try.
I promise. =)