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Review--Kabana in Berkeley

JCooper | Dec 11, 2001 06:43 PM

Since this place got written up as one of the Bay Area's 50 Best Restaurants in SF Magazine, I'm sure lots of people have already checked it out, if they didn't know about it before. But for those who haven't, it's well worth a trip.
The restaurant is on the corner of University and San Pablo in Berkeley, and it features a big yellow sign out front that says "Kabana" so you can't miss it.
I went with three other people on Sunday night and we were impressed with everything we ordered.
We skipped appetizers but ordered a bunch of main dishes: aloo saag (potatoes and greens), lentils, a tandoori combination plate and tandoori fish. The fish is something I would not normally have ordered, but it was remarkably good. It was a white fish, with a fatty, salmon-like texture (possibly sea bass?) which had been marinated in spices and cooked at very high heat so that it was crisp on the outside but moist inside.
Of the other tandoori dishes, the seekh kebab (ground lamb on a skewer) was my favorite. It was incredibly juicy and savory, with a mix of spices that I can't begin to describe. The boti kebab (lamb chunks) seemed to have a less exciting flavor, but the texture of the meat was wonderful.
The naan was light and delicious, and the aloo saag and the lentils were both excellent. The spicy green chutney was also superb.
The only false note was the kulfi, which I found too chalky for my taste.
I really recommend this place to anyone who is looking to rise up out of the mire of mediocre Indian/Pakistani food.

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