Had dinner at Tallulah tonight with 5 friends. Like eating in a cozy tucked away side room in the coolest house (Berkeyesque) that relaxes you (especially since we didn't have to wait for a table-in fact, they were amazingly nice about having to wait while we parked).
In fact, 3 in our party had to wait for a while at the bar and commented on what a pleasant bar it was...nicest bartender, great cocktails (sake...no hard liquor).
The pace was definitely slow so don't go if you are looking for an hour and 15 min dinner in and out experience - you may be annoyed.
But if not, sit back and enjoy. Zero corkage so we bought 2 bottles: a Heidsick Diamant Blanc champange and a Koonsgard Viogner fit the eclectic menu, although I think a light red would also go w/the heavier lamb/eggplant entrees well (but start with a white).
The menu is devided into 4 cateories: puri and chaat represent the lighter (apps) entrees and tandoori and chulla are the heaver (entree) items. All are meant to be shared but this is a place where you can do whatever makes you feel most comfortable.
- Roasted Gypsy Peppers w/saffron risotto & sultanas ($9)
- Lobster and Corn Dhosa w/curried cream ($12) - doubled down on this as it was a star (lobster, cream --- surprise?)
- Oysters on the halfshell ($10) - totally acceptable but i'd pass on this as it is not what you come here for (but some had a yen for them). They were a small Western US variety that was fine
- Cod & Coconut Ceviche served in a edible nan bowl($10) - competant but not the strong suit
- Spiced Pomme Frites w/mango pickle ketchup ($5) - tried in vain to get the proprietor to reveal her masala blend. Both frites and dipping sauce are big crowd pleasers!
- Grilled Sardines (2) with mango and cucumber relish ($8) - this dish converted 2 new people to sardine lovers - including the woman who proclaimed "we train our dog with sardines". Great.
In addition, we were treated to Lamb Sausauge & Kidneys w/pink lentils & picked turnips ($9) and House Cured Duck w/caramelized pineapple ($16) - both were fantastic and we couldn't help but wonder if it was pure coincidence that both dishes were trashed in a recent SF Chronicle Review....well, both were truly "fixed" and thoroughly enjoyed.
- Curried Lamb Chops w/chickpea croquette and mint relish ($16)- the only (universal) disapointment. After so many assertive flavors, this one was dull on everyone's palatte.
- Crumb Crusted Eggplant & Portabello Mushromms w/tomato chutney ($13) - I only got a piece of the eggplant but it was worlds better than the typical "overly breadcrumbed and deep fried" (where is the eggplant??) version.
- Fennel Crusted Golden Trout ($17) - inadvertently, i realize I saved the best for last. A pretty massive size piece of moist, well infused fish that everyone relished.
We also had plenty of orders of naan (would be great if this came w/some dipping sauce or other liquid...it's dry but good) and desserts - most memorable being the rice pudding (emphasis on the rice).
Tallulah has been open for 3 months and is located in the Castro on 18th St between Diamond and Collingwood, right next to Cote Sud. Parking is hell and there is no valet.