A few weeks ago while buying some Patak's paste at a convenience store in this town which also carries a large selection of SouthAsian spices, I noticed the red, white and blue sign for Tandoori Chicken USA down the street. I asked the store owner if it was any good, and he said, yes, depending on who's cooking and if you only order the chicken and the bread, the other stuff isn't so good.
This place looks like the typical Americana drive-in with an order and pick-up window, outdoor seating, some inside seating and lots of parking. A range of Indian specialties are offered, plus hamburgers and milk shakes. Signs indicate that the tandoor is fueled with mesquite.
Of course I didn't follow the local's advice completely and ordered the 1/4 chicken (leg & thigh) as a "meal" with half a naan, rice and lentils for $4.54. The chicken and bread alone would have been $3.47.
The local was right. The rice was excessively greasy and the dahl was nothing to write home about. The chicken, however, was flavorful and tender. The naan had been sitting for awhile, I suspect, and had hit that doughy stage. The thin mint chutney was very good, as was the mango yoghurt shake (lassi, $3).
The awards from Diablo Magazine as best of the East Bay are displayed proudly. For me, I would have been better off heading back to the City for a bite in the Tenderloin.
Tandoori Chicken USA
3850 San Pablo Dam Rd.
Open 7 days a week
11am to 9:30pm