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Restaurants & Bars 8

Darbar (Indian on Polk)

JohnnyP | Aug 27, 200301:46 PM

Another Indian spot on Polk? Is it possible?

Apparently so, but, in my opinion, one spot far outshines the rest.

*** Darbar ***

I've been meaning to set myself down and post to Chowhound about this, my new and certain favorite for inexpensive Indian food in San Francisco.

Someone posted about one of the other newcomer Indian spots on Polk recently, Sheesh Mahal. I responded to that post with a plug for Darbar, but decided to give it a new thread, which it surely deserves.

In a nutshell, I ***highly*** recommend Darbar, which recently opened across from Shalimar on Polk.

The place is remarkably clean and tastefully decorated (esp. compared to the stark, neon lit grow-room style of Shalimar), the service is generous and professional, and the food is very bright and tasty.

I have been back to Darbar several times now and the owner always remembers our favorite table and insists that we have some tea... AFTER he brings the check.

That ain't happening at Shali.

What's really remarkable is that the prices at Darbar are no different from those at Shalimar, but the atmosphere, service, and food are leaps and bounds above.

I really hope this venture works out for the exceedingly kind owners of Darbar. The husband owner recently confided to us that he's hanging on to his day job until Darbar either flies or flops. So far it seems to be just staying afloat.

Meanwhile Shalimar continues packing 'em in for carelessly spiced, sloppy food, and soup-kitchen style service.

There is one table just outside the door at Darbar, which is a perfect spot for a couple (or soloist) to enjoy a nice, inexpensive meal with gracious service while watching the various, sometimes bizare, activities on Polk St.

Compared to Sheesh, and even Shalimar, Darbar is definitely several notches above.

Give it a try!

Some successful dishes:

Lamb Samosas; very fresh and light with delicately seasoned minced lamb, peas, etc.

Another appetizer (can't remember the name) which is a mixture of lamb and lentils, formed into a thin cake, fried and served with onions and mint chutney.

The first chicken curry dish on the menu (sorry, can't remember the name again!) which is similar to a tikka masala, centered around tandoori chicken pieces, but with a smokier, somewhat less creamy sauce.

The biryanis, nicely spiced and accented with almond slivers and golden raisins.

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