I figure I had better set out to write this immediately before my impressions get tainted by time. I bumped into Sandra W. at Standard Sweets and Snacks. I ordered a fried chile stuffed with potato and the lady behind the counter kept telling me she had to fry it, it was only half fried and she doesn't care if I'm taking it home and that I can put it in the toaster oven. Sandra came in and started pointing at one of everything and was told, "Half ply, you want again?" which even I thought was, "Half price, do you want another?" Finally, we realized her stuff had to be refried too and she said she would fry it at home.
As I was peering in the windows at Shan waiting for the rest of our group to arrive, a well dressed Indian man came out and sternly warned me not to eat at Shan. I thought he was being facetious, but he insisted that he was serious and even asked his daughters to verify how bad the food was as they came out. They kept directing us to eat at Ashoka (65% health department rating!) across the street. Sandra noticed Kriss Reed and Stephanie Pao inside and we wandered in despite the vehement warnings. Very quickly Elisha, LBQT and her guest, Peter, came in and we decided to take his warning with a grain of salt and stick it out.
We pretty much winged it on the ordering and it worked out that we got a nice variety of dishes. So I don't put words in anyone's mouth I will give my impressions of each dish. Some descriptions are from the menu:
Mutton Boti Kabab-slices of lamb marinated in yogurt, spices and herbs cooked in a clay oven.
This came on a sizzling platter along with Chicken 65. I thought it was a little tough, but I liked the seasonings.
Chicken 65-boneless pieces of chicken cooked with spices.
Spicy, had jalapenos, tender. I liked this one a lot.
Chicken Tikka Masala-boneless pieces of chicken barbequed and mixed with yogurt curry.
Sweeter than usual, very creamy and rich. A nice contrast to the highly seasoned dishes.
Chicken Briyani-basmati rice steamed with chicken curry.
Not much meat, but the meat that was there was delicately flavored.
Fish Fry-marinated whole fish.
I though this was dry and didn't eat the skin so really I missed the marinade.
Palak Lamb-lamb cooked with spinach and spices.
Spiciest dish, very good scooped into Naan and eaten together. The lamb in the dish was very good.
Bhagare Baigan-braised eggplant with spices.
Runny but tasty. I was getting pretty full at this point.
Naan-plain, garlic and ginger.
Gajar Ka Halwa-minced carrot with pistachio and rosewater (dessert).
Super-sweet, I didn't appreciate any aspect of this dessert, but I don't like really sweet stuff.
Gulab Jamun-fried milk balls in suryp.
These were better than you normally get. Not the best I have had in my life, but finer and meltier than the usual.
I was really disappointed with this. It was rock hard and crystalline like it had thawed and refrozen, I think there was a lot of this left over. Kriss called himself a "kulfi-whore" and was eating a lot more of this than anyone else. He truly is indiscriminate when it comes to kulfi as this was pretty bad IMHO.
Double ka Meetha-fried bread dessert.
Chewy, greasy, had a tainted flavor. Not good.
I didn't have any, the group seemed to think it wasn't
Mango Lassi-yogurt and mango drink.
I always order Mango Lassi, this was typical. Takes the bite out of spicy dishes.
Kriss Reed brought a dry Alsacian Gewurtzraminer that was a big hit.
It was really nice to put faces to names and chit chat about restaurants all over the southland real-time.
Thank you to all who came and those who wanted to make it but couldn't.
Sandra suggested the next meeting take place in Little Saigon.
Now please, all of you post and put in your two cents.