Thanks to a report from Dan Paradox (linked below), a friend and I headed out to Spicy Bite on Mission Street at the corner of Cortland tonight. For $30 we had a delicious meal, stuffed ourselves, and were treated to a little extra dessert to take home.
We ordered the spicy bite biryani, an enormous portion of rice with shrimp, chicken and lamb but also fresh green beans, peas, cauliflower, and bits of fried onions. It was accompanied by a creamy sauce (with cashews?) that I was too busy devouring to figure out what was in it.
We also had the chicken tikka masala, a dish I am generally not fond of or maybe it's generally just an excuse for dried out chicken, and it was exceptional. I could eat that sauce on cardboard and would just lap up every bite.
Finally we had a side of peshawari naan, stuffed with nuts, raisins, and cherries. This was a real treat. I wouldn't have thought to order it, blinded by the presence of garlic naan, but it was airy, and we finished two slices each, despite claiming to be stuffed.
I also insisted on carrot pudding (gajar halwa), my favorite Indian comfort food. We also finished this, although we'd sworn this time we had no room left. Their carrot pudding is made with a lot of butter, white raisins, a few nuts, not too sweet, and new to me, a bit of chocolate syrup. The manager insisted upon giving us a free serving to take home, which I'm looking forward to tomorrow (although I was secretly hoping for gulab jamon, which I'd been coveting at the next table).
A very mild raita was complimentary along with a serving of greaseless onion rings and mint and tamarind sauces.
I think the sauces are where Spicy Bite excels. Flavorful, fresh ingredients, not too heavy despite their creaminess. The same light hand we had noted at Little Nepal.
We ordered both dishes medium spicy, and Ithey were not spicy at all, so they probably need some encouragement with non-Indian diners. Chili and vinegar are on the tables. The table next to us was a Sikh family who seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as we were.
The restaurant is clean and bright, in a sterile sort of way. We were trying to remember what had been there before (a Mexican-Salvadorean restaurant) and concluded it had been dark and not inviting.
Total came to $30 including a generous tip. Our entrees at $9.95 were among the most expensive on the menu.
3501 Mission st
open 7 days for dinner and lunch every day but Monday
Oddly, Spicy Bite advertises itself in Spanish-language newpapers as a Chinese restaurant with north Indian & Nepali influences. Despite this, we stuck to the Indian side of the menu, which in the spirit of their neighbors at Zante pizza, inexplicably ranges from Gobi mansurian and hot and sour soup to burritos. I say, stick to tikka masala.
Free delivery, very friendly staff. A chowdown is definitely in order--otherwise it will take me months to work my way through the menu.