Simla Mirch Aloo at Kasa Indian Eatery
Chef Anamika Khanna is on a constant mission to get her customers addicted to new side dishes, and this new vegetable special, simla mirch aloo, does not disappoint. The combination of braised poblano peppers, potatoes, and caramelized onions is wrapped in a cumin spiced tomato sauce—served only at Kasa's storefront in the Castro. *Hot tip: Look out for Khanna's Indian Philly cheesesteak to debut from the Kasa food truck at Off the Grid's Fourth of July event in Berkeley.
Chocolate Dosa at Dosa on Valencia
Anjan Mitra is the owner of both San Francisco locations of Dosa - Indian restaurants that are anything but your typical chicken tikka, lunch buffet-serving joint. Mitra and his wife Emily opened the first Dosa on Valencia St. in 2005 because they wanted to fill a hole they saw in the Indian food around town.
In the industry, it's widely known that chefs put a lot of items on the menu that they don't necessarily get a kick out of making anymore. These are the nachos, tuna tartares and flatbreads of the world. Without a doubt, they are the menu staples, and they certainly do please a whole hell of a lot of people. But while you're happily digging into something cheesy and easy to make (at least for a pro cook), the chef is getting his thrills by putting a few more adventurous, unexpected dishes on the menu. Think chicken foot skewers, whole braised fishes and—gasp—lamb chops at an Indian dosa restaurant. I asked chefs at some of the more popular spots around town what they wish you'd order, even though you really just want the nachos. Give these dishes a shot. You might just learn something.
The other day I was talking to a restaurant owner. He was complaining about the no-show—the person that ditches a reservation without bothering to cancel. I’d like to think that this is just a matter of ignorance, more than downright rude behavior. Diners just assume the restaurant will give your table away to someone else—no big deal, right?
Here’s are what a couple industry insiders have to say:
As a chef, one of my favorite things to do is go out for dinner. I hate the thought of cooking at home—hate hate hate! I figure if I spend 60-plus hours a week in a restaurant, one of my luxuries when I am not at work is to have someone else cook my dinner. So, behold, my list of places I go on my night off.
The new Dosa on Fillmore officially opened last Monday. And while the first Dosa filled the South Indian niche, Dosa II has filled in some blanks of its own.
• It’s lured the ladies from upper Pac Heights to boldly venture to the scruffier side of lower Pac Heights (although not as scruffy as the South side of Geary). The night I was there more than one table was made up of solely of women, many with hairbands, bonding over cocktails and curry.
• It offers a pre-concert dinner for those headed to the Fillmore and a post-movie dinner for those spilling out of the Sundance Kabuki theater.
• It’s a home away from home for Nopa fans. Former bank building? Check. Huge and impressive windows? Check. Skyhigh ceilings? Check.