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Punjabi Tandoor report (long)

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Punjabi Tandoor report (long)

JS | Mar 18, 2006 12:09 PM

After reading young_chower's rave about this place on here, I had to go check it out. Three of us headed over there last night, and had some of the best Indian food I've eaten in San Diego.

Punjabi Tandoor is in an office park, around the corner from the Indian shopping center on Black Mountain Road. First thing to know, it's a tiny hole-in-the-wall. There are a total of four tables inside, 2 six-tops, 1 two-top, and 1 four-top. There is also some outdoor seating, but if this place become popular they are going to have some serious problems. As it was, we were mad-dogged as we finished up our meal, with two parties crammed in there waiting for tables.

The menu is displayed on the wall, but there is also a printed version that explains the dishes if you're unfamiliar. You order at the counter, then they call you when your food is ready.

Prices are insanely cheap. Tandoori items are pricier, but the vegetable curries are around $4 apiece.

We had vegetable samosas, paratha (both plain and paneer stuffed), pillau rice, tandoori mix, chicken tikka masala, bhindi masala, and saag paneer. We also got a sweet lassi, and gulab jamun.

The samosas were great - not greasy, and the potato filling was quite spicy. They came on a styrofoam plate (as did all the food) with both tamarind and cilantro chutney, both of which were good.

The tandoori mix was pretty good. The chicken tikka (boneless breast) was tasty, and not too dry. I didn't get to try one of the legs, but the seekh kebab was really delicious.

More impressive to me than the tandoori items were the curries. The bhindi masala in particular was really good. Bhindi masala is okra, and normally when I've ordered this the okra is kind of dry and shriveled, like it's been sitting around for a long time. Here though the okra was bright green and obviously fresh.

The saag paneer was also very good. The chicken tikka masala was just OK, due to the dry chunks of white meat chicken. The sauce was awesome, though.

I'd also definitely recommend the pillau rice - the fried onion and seasonings (and butter - can't forget the butter) add a lot of flavor. Similarly, the buttered paratha was excellent - though the paneer didn't add much flavor, I'd stick with plain.

Desserts didn't disappoint either. The gulab jamun were tasty, fresh, and tender, and the sweet lassi tasted like a rich yogurt milkshake.

One caveat - they do not skimp on the ghee, so be prepared for lots of buttery goodness.

Link: http://www.punjabitandoor.com

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