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Desi Chinese: Chicken 65 at Tandoori Bites, San Jose

Melanie Wong | Oct 15, 2005 03:42 AM

In the post linked below, ken ivorous asks for Desi Chinese recs, both good and bad. Ideas?

A few weeks ago I met a friend at a new, month-old spot in San Jose called Tandoori Bites. The menu touts use of fresh, not frozen vegetables. From the name, I was expecting some kind of small plate format for tandoori dishes, however, that was my overactive imagination at work. Most of the menu is the typical tandoori/punjabi type of dishes. But I spotted Chicken 65 and asked to order it.

I've only had Chicken 65 once before at Priya in Berkeley. This was a different version, a dry-fried style instead of with yogurt sauce, and seemed more Chinese-y to me than the earlier time. Small chunks of white meat chicken were lightly battered, deep-fried and then sauteed with fragrant and hot spices. Chicken nuggets on steroids if you will. I was disappointed that white meat was used, as it doesn't have as much flavor, yet it was impressive that the meat was not just moist but juicy. The complex flavors were zingy and well-balanced. This was the best thing we tried.

Quick comments on the rest of the meal - naan was decent but not a stand-out. The thali was boring with a lamb curry and a pea and palak curry that had sauces that were too similar to each other. The mixed tandoori grill was served on a sizzling iron plate. I hate those things! They just dry out the food even more. Seasoning on the grills was mild and the shrimp and white meat chicken kebabs were cottony and inedible. The tandoori chicken thigh was a little better but too dry as well. The lamb boti was decent but underseasoned.

We also liked the Malai kofta. These were ovoid shape and more soft and tender than any others I've had. They tasted very fresh and reminded us of falafel with carrots in the blend. The tomato cream sauce over them was luscious with mild heat.

Tandoori Bites
3730 First St.
San Jose

And for ken, here's another url for more Desi Chinese suggestions -

Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

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