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Another Glance at Little Delhi

March 29, 2007

Several months back, we wrote about a favorite Indian place of ours, Little Delhi. Little Delhi started off as a rough-and-tumble joint near Geary and Jones, in the thick of the “Tandoorloin” corridor. Never mind the surroundings though — it’s all part of the charm, right? The food was delicious, beating much more popular joints like Naan ‘n Curry clear out of the water. There was a period in which the restaurant was closed, but happily it reopened, with expanded premises literally on top of Powell BART/Muni subway station. (Seriously: in the bathroom, you can hear Muni’s slightly clunky light rail trains rumbling through the tunnel directly underneath you.) The expanded restaurant, which features very bright red booths, was a nice change, but the important part was that with Kamar Barbhuyan at the helm, you were guaranteed a great ride with some pretty magical curries.

Then, last October, Tablehopper Marcia reported that a business disagreement had forced Kamar to leave Little Delhi, in the hopes of opening a new restaurant of his own. We were sad to hear that he left Little Delhi, but we are also excited to try out his new venture. So far, we haven’t heard about his new joint yet, but you can be sure we will visit just as soon as he opens it. Last October, though, we promised a new look at Little Delhi; so, several months later (sorry about the delay!), we are finally following through on that promise.

One thing to keep in mind here is that we’ve only been back to Little Delhi once since Kamar left. We do plan on visiting again to keep our reporting accurate. Still, we feel that we visited the original Little Delhi enough to recognize the fact that on our most recent visit, there has indeed been some change, and so we will continue to follow any other possible changes in the future.

Anyway, onto the food. A meal at Little Delhi begins with complimentary pappadams (the thin, crisp, spicy wafers) and chutneys. This complimentary starter has not been yanked away (presumably because the ownership has not changed), but we did notice a sort of uneven quality to both the texture and the flavor of the chutneys, almost as though they had not quite been finished yet; it was a noticeable change from the chutneys that we had here several months ago. Of course, we ordered the obligatory naan to accompany our meal:

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Little Delhi’s naan was never really our favorite to begin with, but it seems to now lack what we view to be a pretty crucial element of superior naan, namely a balance between softer, chewier, denser sections and the lighter crunchy, blistered sections. The naan we had at this last meal had a slightly crunchy texture uniform throughout all of each piece, almost as if we were eating a piece of toast. The textural contrasts were almost completely absent. It did the job, but it was not great.

For an entree, we ordered the lamb korma:

tb_little_delhi_2_lamb_korma.JPG

This was definitely a good dish. Thankfully, the hallmark slivers of almond, which added a touch of sweetness and a soft crunch, were not removed. Several chunks of tender lamb were scattered throughout the dish, well-flavored by the curry. The curry here was also solid, but we would be lying if we said it was as good as before. The curries here were once deliciously complex, with layers of flavor that transformed and evolved as the spices were kept in contact with your taste buds and as they tumbled down your esophagus — it was magic on a plate. Our lamb korma this time, though, was not up to that standard. Flavorful, to be sure, but it did not pack as multi-dimensional or as long-lasting a punch.

Little Delhi is still a solid Indian restaurant, and it still beats many places in town. The restaurant somehow seems slightly more subdued than before, but the service is still prompt and at least reservedly friendly, and the menu is the same. Most importantly, the food is still good, and its ridiculously convenient location on top of Powell Station pretty much guarantees that we will return at least every once in awhile — and, as we said, we will continue to provide updates as necessary. However, Little Delhi’s curries did not sing to us quite as enthusiastically as they once did, and so we will sing the praises of Little Delhi a little less enthusiastically, as well.

RATING:

COST:

Please scroll down to the bottom of our original review for restaurant hours and contact information.

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2 comments

  1. Sad to hear that this place has changed for the worse. Hopefully though, perhaps this was just an “off” day. And it is a place I would still visit because it still ranks pretty high in the Short Exact book with three stars (but without the previous half star).


  2. Yeah, it’s definitely still very decent — although it was so consistent before, which is why I did the rating after just one visit. It would be great if it were just an “off” day as you said. In any case, I think you’re right a couple more visits are in order to make sure.



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