I'm always sniffing out new Indian places--Davis doesn't have any Indian food, northern or southern,worth a plugged nickel IMHO, so choices devolve to Sacramento. Usually I go to Kaveri on Fulton, which can be outstanding, but it's usually buffet service and quality can vary.
I read a review of Chaat Corner a week or two ago in the Sac News & Review; went today for lunch. If you enjoy southern Indian food, give it a try. It's located on Northgate above El Camino, in a part of town that has not been Starbuckified--kind of a pleasant change...the restaurant shares space in a small, ratty strip mall with a Filipino grocery store (an interesting visit, if you like wierd little bodegas full of arcane ingredients, and I do) and a purveyor of what appears to be Punjabi clothing. The atmosphere is nonexistent--literally tables (mismatched) and chairs, a TV and a counter. It's so bad, it's good. DON'T be put off by appearances.
Food is cooked to order by an extremely personable and talented young man, whom I believe is the owner. I went with a vegetarian, so lunch consisted of aloo ghobi, saag paneer, samosa chaat and naan. The aloo ghobi was very good: nicely spiced, and with a touch more heat than one often encounters. The saag paneer was outstanding--the spinach had a richness that tasted almost like creamed spinach, and what often is kind of a boring dish really sang. The samosa chaat was basically samosas cut up and served with a garbanzo curry and a couple of different chutneys. I liked it, but think I prefer my samosas unadulterated. My sister, however, thought the dish an improvement on regular samosas--see what you think.
The absolute highlight of the meal was the naan--this was the best I've ever had: big, puffy, blistery, steamy FABULOUS frisbees of yeasty goodness, hot out of the tandoor. We ordered four, which was a mistake--they're huge--but they were so good that we plowed our way through 3 and a half of them.
I almost got an order of chicken tikka, but there's no way I could have done anything but look at it. There were a bunch of Indian college students at the next table having it, though, and it looked and smelled terrific. Someone go try it and tell us how it is!
The menu is very small--maybe ten dishes or so--but everything I saw come out of the kitchen looked fresh, nicely prepared and smelled good. The place is small enough that it's easy to eavesdrop on other tables, and everyone there when I was seemed to be pleased with the food. They're open 7 days a week--Mondays just for dinner. Owner said he's there all day on weekends and during the week he closes between 2 and 5 in the afternoon.
Oh, one other thing: this place shares a name with a great place in Berkeley, and an unknown quantity that recently opened in Davis, but it's an independent concern, or at least I'm pretty sure it is...
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