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San Francisco Bay Area Chowdown

Curry Dive Chowdown Report: Viva Goa in San Francisco


Restaurants & Bars San Francisco Bay Area Chowdown

Curry Dive Chowdown Report: Viva Goa in San Francisco

Melanie Wong | | Aug 10, 2010 09:58 PM

Last week three friends shared the dinner table with me at the month-old Viva Go on Lombard Street. I enjoyed it so much, the Curry Dive series of South Asian-themed chowdowns was reincarnated to invite the ‘hounds to check it out. Our plan was to return for the lunch buffet (11-3, M-F, $8.99) on Monday. However, the day’s buffet line included but two Goan dishes (lamb xacuti and stir-fry fish chef’s special) leading us to opt for ala carte ordering instead.

Here’s what we ordered with menu descriptions and prices:

Fish Cutlets appetizer, $5.99 - Minced fish marinated in herbs, spices and shallow fried.

Malabar Jinga appetizer, $7.99 - Shrimp sauteed in garlic, mustard and curry leaves in a tangy sauce.

Goan Lamb Masala, $10.99 - Lamb with onions, tomato, ginger, garlic and variety of spices.
Pork Vindaloo, $10.99 - "Carne de vinda d'ahos", ginger, garlic and potatoes in sauce made with cardamom, fenugreek, cinnamon, black peppercorns, dry chiles and vinegar.

Fish Curry, $11.99 - Traditional Goan fish cooked with fresh coconut and herbs and spices.
Chicken 65, $9.99 - Chicken cooked with curry leaves, bell pepper, onion, garlic, ginger and Goan spices.

Beef assado, $12.99 - Slices of beef marinated in palm vinegar with Goan masala and roasted, served with mashed potatoes and boiled seasonal vegetables.

Naan, $1.99 – White flour bread
Rice, $1.99 – Long grain Basmati rice, flavored with saffron and herbs
Mango lassi, $2.50 – Blended yogurt drink with mango
Indian tea (chai), $2.00 – Spiced Indian tea with milk

As we ordered, I explained to Mr. Alvares, one of the co-owners, that while I had tasted the lamb xacuti my previous visit, my dining companions had not. I asked him if they could have a little sample of the lamb xacuti from the buffet table. We scored not just the lamb xacuti (“Traditional curry of Goa, cooked with fresh coconut and spices, white poppy seeds and red dried chiles”) but also a taste of the stir-fried fish chef's special! Shown here, the red food coloring makes the chunks of fish with onions and bell peppers look remarkably like a plate of sweet and sour pork.

Here’s my lunch plate with a little serving of everything. Clockwise starting at 12:00 position - Beef assado with mashed potatoes and vegetables; Pork vindaloo; Goan lamb masala; Basmati rice; Fish curry; Fish stir-fry special; Chicken 65; Naan; and in the center, Lamb xacuti.

When we tried to order dessert, we were comped this sampler. Here are the menu prices - Bebinca, $3.99; pineapple ice cream, $2.99; pistachio kulfi, $2.99; and mango kulfi, $2.99.

And a closer look at the desserts on my plate.

Tasting Table’s review was released just before noon on Monday and it was fun to be able to inform the owners and point them to their restaurant’s first review.

Mr. Alvares said that they are holding off on a grand opening for a few more weeks, letting the business grow slowly by word of mouth before they start to advertise. He’s interested in getting feedback and is generous with comps now. “sfbing” asked if the menu would include sorpotel, a heavily spiced dish of various pork innards (, and he said that it would make an appearance is the next few weeks.

Our tab came to $22 each, including tax and tip, and there was enough food to feed one more person. We had chipped in a little more to cover the comps, and Mr. Alvares tried to return some of the cash saying it was too much. As the last to leave, I insisted that he keep it all. He relented, but added a couple of kulfi to go to the bag of leftovers that are in my freezer to be shared at a future chowhound gathering.

I ask my dining companions to report back on their impressions of the food, favorites, dislikes, etc. Please weigh in.

Viva Goa
2420 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94123

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