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Differences between "upscale" Indian and "Tandoorloin"

Alan C | Sep 29, 200407:45 PM

I've been wanting to post about this for some time, and was finally inspired to stop stalling by the thread a few lines below on Indian food in San Francisco.

Deb and I really got turned on to Indian food by posts on this board, and have regularly sampled Naan n Curry, all the Pakwans, Shalimar, Shah, etc., mostly for take-out meals.

I was driving out Clement and noticed the new "India Clay Oven" location. Inside the picture window you can see white tablecloths on the tables, and a sign mentioning the "full bar".

So my question is: Is the food better at such "upscale" locations, or is it PRIMARILY a matter of ambiance? For example, I really think the lamb chops at the Jones/O'Farrell Naan n Curry are fantastic. The "char" is great, the spiciness perfect; however I have often thought how amazing it might taste if the meat were somewhat thicker/jucier, and the cuts larger and more tender.

So we'd appreciate some feedback on the pros and cons of the "India Clay Ovens" vs. "Naan n Currys" of the world, and for that matter, anything in between the two.

Thanks Chowhounds.

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