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sultan disappoints

elise h | Apr 24, 200410:52 AM

I had a disappointing dinner at Sultan (O'Farrell and Taylor).

I asked the waiter how Sultan's dishes were different from the other Indian restaurants in the area. He responded that Sultan serves a different clientele; that it is a different taste. I was concerned that he meant that Sultan serves primarily the guests in the surrounding Ramada Hotel.

My native Indian friend and I ordered the 2 dishes highly recommended by the waiter: chicken tikka masala and vegetables jaipuri, and naan. When the dishes arrived, they were visually almost identical. Both had a tomato, cream based sauce, though one was slightly darker than the other. In my opinion, the waiter should have recommended that while he recommended both dishes, he would suggest not ordering the two together.

The chicken had a harshness my friend attributed to excess black pepper. The vegetables were acceptable - freshly cut, rather than frozen precut vegetables. The naan was fine. Overall, the dishes lacked the robust flavors of a Shalimar, Pakhwan, or Naan N Curry and were more expensive. Given my huge disappointment with the main dishes, we did not order dessert.

The guests at the two other occupied tables appeared to be tourists. From my experience, Sultan caters to a tourist taste in a more familiar, westernized ambience. What happened? Was the chef on holiday?

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