Restaurants & Bars San Francisco Bay Area San Rafael Chowdown

Chowdown at Om, San Rafael

alfairfax | | Dec 9, 2006 05:18 AM

Nor rain nor gloom of night nor high winds on the Richmond Bridge prevented 8 Chowhounders (joined later by two more) from gathering at this new south Indian restaurant in far downtown San Rafael. They came from the city, they came from the east Bay, some even came from just down the road and they came from LA for heaven's sake, to dine at Marin's only restaurant featuring south Indian cuisine exclusively. It now is also, from my experience, Marin's best Indian restaurant.

We dined on these starters:
Milagai bhajji--stuffed peppers deep fried, served with coconut and coriander chutneys
Era varuval--shrimps coated with a sauce of chilis, ginger, garlic and spices, with mango chutney
Idli with kadappa chutney--small oval rice cakes in a buttery broth with coriander, chili and spices
Then dosas:
Egg pepper dosa--a soft black peppery lentil pancake stuff with egg spread
Ghee rava masala dosa--a crisp pancake served with sambar and tomato chutney
Onion chili Uthappam--dosa-like, but thicker and softer, with carmelized onion and jalapeno slices in the batter
Then on to the curries:
Kozhi varutha curry--chicken chunks with pepper sauce (billed as firey) and coconut milk
Bellari lamb curry--lamb chunks with onion, tomato, chili, tamarind
Hyderabad Chepa fry--tilapia fillets marinated and grilled with sauce
Tajore crab curry--whole crab with spicy curry sauce
And hot chapatis.

Some ordered mango or rose lassi, some Indian beer (Kingfisher--others also available). Rice came with many dishes. Chutneys with each dish.

The restaurant is small, but pleasant and attractive. Service seemed to fall off as the evening progressed with beverage requests forgotten and the necessity of having to ask to have crab-shell filled plates replaced as additional dishes arrived. (If you are serving crab you need to provide plates for shells and extra napkins, at least, I think.) But staff were friendly and made helpful suggestions.

Thanks to Melanie for instigating the evening and taking lead in selecting from the menu. Fellow diners: curry-dive in and please give us your take on dinner at Om.

Om South Indian Cuisine
1518 Fourth Street (just west of E Street)
San Rafael, CA

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