Even tho I’m not a fan, for the most part, of Indian food, a local joint I tried has me curious about the differences between the restaurants in the area. I’m focusing first on the most common in this area ... Northern Indian.
Yes, Ajanta is high up on my list, but I’m also curious about Khana Peenha. I’ll probably go to the Solano location.
I don’t think buffet is any way to judge an Indian restaurant, or really any restaurant. And I can’t face another steam table of like-tasting soupy curries with little difference other than the color and the protein floating around in it.
Unless it is Chicken Tiki Masala (CTM) from the beyond ... the version of CTM that is the definition of the dish, I see no point. This isn’t really even a real Indian dish ... the Chinese chicken salad of Indian food, so to speak.
So I’m asking that awful question ... what should I order at this restaurant?
My limited Indian food experience requires it and I am watching calories so I need to select the best of the best. What have you tried for dinner that was the best. What should be skipped?
I’ve got a bug about Khana Peena because the menu intrigues me and it was voted the most romantic restaurant of 2002 by the East Bay Express ... private booths with cushions, I hear.
What interests me on the menu:
- papadam : I know papadam and am curious if it is any good here.
- Mah Dhal: black lentil cooked in cream sauce with Indian masala ... not a dal fan, but haven’t had black lentils
- Keema Nan: bread stuffed with grounded lamb and baked in clay oven (a big contender because the other place had a great version)
- Makai Roti: corn flour bread cooked on skillet (what dish to order this with?)
- Indian Tomato Soup tamatar (tomato) soup with special Indian masala (never heard of Indian tomato soup)
- Khana Peena Chicken Soup: delicately spiced chicken soup cooked with vegetables (I’m into this non-dal Indian soup thing)
- Ginger Chicken: chicken breast stir fried with pyaz (onion) and adarak (ginger) in Indian dry sauce
- Ginger Lamb: lamb cubes stir fried with adark (ginger), pyaz (onion) and Indian dry sauce
- Gajarrale: grated carrot cake made with milk and sugar
My understanding from reading the old newspaper reviews linked below is to skip the tandoori here and go for the curries and stewed dishes. True?
I did learn Khana Peena means "food and drink".
The East Bay Express writes:
“There are several good Indian beers and interesting wines to pick from, owing in large part to the fact that the owners have a background in the liquor business. They have some good nonalcoholic drinks, too. A bottle of Thumbs Up soda ($2.50) is worth it for the name and for the spicy cola bite. And a mango lassi here ($3) might define the genre.”
Is the mango lassi still good?
The Chronicle wrote:
“Patrons have a choice of seating arrangements. They can dine at one of the formal, linen-topped tables near the entrance. They can keep an eye on the open kitchen, shiny and percolating with activity, from a perch at the curvy copper bar. Or they can recline on colorful cushions around low tables in one of the three private rooms open to parties of four or more.”
I’m going alone so that and my bum knee rules out the cushions. Any preferred seating?
I’m open to anything, but if you tried any of the above, I’d be grateful for your opinion.
The only Chowhound report I could find that didn’t focus on the buffet.
East Bay Express Review
Older Chronicle review