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Little Delhi

August 9, 2006

UPDATE #1 (October 18, 2006): Marcia, of Tablehopper fame, has just reported in her October 17 newsletter that Little Delhi has lost its wonderful chef, Kamar Barbhuyan, due to a business disagreement. Marcia reports that Kamar is currently looking for a new place to open up a new restaurant, so we wish him the best of luck in this search! Important here, though, is that the below review we’ve given for Little Delhi now does not really apply anymore. If the current restaurant stays in business, apparently it will keep the name Little Delhi, but only time will tell how the Kamar-less restaurant fares. As soon as it seems reasonable to do so, we will look into writing an updated Little Delhi review. And we will of course visit Kamar’s new restaurant, when that opens up!

UPDATE #2 (March 29, 2007): The promised update on Little Delhi has finally arrived. You can read about it here.

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ORIGINAL REVIEW:

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Once upon a time, at the fabled corner of Jones and Geary, right in the thick of the Tandoorloin, there was a tiny, well-loved Indian restaurant that went by the name of Little Deli. Little Deli broke the barrier between dining area and kitchen, as it was all really in the same room, and there weren’t many perks in terms of an elegant dining experience: meals were served on disposable plates. None of this really mattered though, as the food quality was unique and excellent. It attracted devoted fans like a magnet, and once was never enough. Little Deli fed, and in turn, fueled, our curry addictions, in a way not at all unlike the dealers and crack addicts that were right outside on the sidewalk. But then, their lease expired, and Little Deli closed. ‘Twas a dark, dark day in the history of the Tandoorloin.

But now, fast forward over one year, and walk a couple blocks south to Eddy and Mason, and you’ll find Little Deli, reincarnated as Little Delhi! Yes, run by the same people as before. Unlike the old Little Deli, real plates are used, and there’s now a proper (and really fairly large) dining area featuring a long row of bright red booths. It’s much less cramped than the old quarters, but, of course, the most important part is the food, which is just as delicious as before. Once again, Little Del(h)i provides the beacon of light on their block for Indian food lovers everywhere. Short Exact has visited them many times and realized that a review was long overdue.

We started with the complimentary pappadams,

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which were well-spiced and served with the expected chutneys: very nice flavors here. For $1.00, we received this order of naan to accompany the meal:

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The naan was very good, with just the right blend of chewiness and lovely, smoky, blistered crunchiness. Best of all, though, the quality has been consistently good on each and every of our many visits to Little Delhi.

For entrees, Short Exact and friends ordered the saag paneer,

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and also the chicken korma:

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In a word: delicious. Little Delhi’s curries are consistently a delight: robust, layered, and complex. It’s great to pick out the individual spices and herbs, and have them combine into a unified flavor. In addition, quality ingredients are used: good, fresh spinach in the saag paneer and generous chunks of chicken korma. The chicken korma was permeated with raisins and slivers of almond: the soft sweetness of the raisins and delicate crunch of the almonds, when combined with curry, is simply amazing. Little Delhi uses fresh herbs and spices in its curries, and it’s immediately apparent on the first bite, because the flavor is so vibrant. If you enjoy (or at least can handle) spicy food, Short Exact highly recommends that you order these curries spicy, rather than mild. Unlike some Indian restaurants, Little Delhi will take your request for a spicy dish seriously. It can get really spicy, but this highlights the ingredients in the curry. Little Delhi doesn’t use the spiciness to hide inferior ingredients or the lack of a proper flavor; it’s only used, with great effect, to enhance the dish, rather than to overpower it.

Little Delhi, despite being a very casual establishment, has done a good job to round out the dining experience. The service is not gushing or extensive, but it is certainly courteous; dishes are delivered relatively quickly, and water is promptly refilled when necessary. However, these perks are almost incidental: even if the service were horrible, Short Exact would still visit regularly, since it’s really all about the food.

So run, don’t walk, to Little Delhi for some delicious curry: we promise you won’t regret it.

RATING:

COST:

83 Eddy Street (at Mason St.)
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: 415.398.3173
Hours: Daily, 11:30 am – 11:00 pm.

Cuisine: Indian/Pakistani
Neighborhood: Tenderloin

How to get there: Little Delhi is extremely conveniently located just steps from Hallidie Plaza, at the Powell Street BART/Muni subway station. In addition to being right by the Powell-Hyde and Powell-Mason cable car turnaround, the restaurant is either right on or within a few blocks from a slew of Muni lines: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 9X, 14, 26, 27, 30, 31, 38, 45, 71, 76, F, J, K, L, M, N, and T.

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2 comments

  1. […] Sorry Naan ‘n Curry: we love that you’re open 24 hours a day, but sadly, you’re no Little Delhi. NAAN ‘n CURRY’S OTHER LOCATIONS: […]


  2. this restaurant is cool but i felt bad about India map. which is on wall in this restaurant. the head of India in the map is revers. that kills me a lot. plz change that map soon plzzzzzzzz



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