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Lahore Karahi - Brief Report

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Went to Lahore Karahi last night with a friend. We shared:

Veggie Samosas - These arrived straight from the fryer, and they were good, not great. They were fresh, which was nice, but a bit greasy.

Bengan Bartha - This was one of the best versions of this dish that I've ever had. It was a perfect balance of sweet and savory, plenty of tomato mixed in with the eggplant. Really delicious.

Tandoori Fish - This was also excellent. Several pieces of tender sea bass, with lots of spices. Served sizzling w/ onions and lettuce. I definitely recommend this dish.

2 nan - They have great nan - nice yeasty taste.

1 order rice.

Service was a bit slow and spotty, but friendly. It's a bit disorganized in there, but these guys really know how to cook.

Total bill was somehow only 22 dollars before tip. A great bargain.

Lahore Karahi is near the corner of O'Farrell and Leavenworth.

Afterwards, we went to Mitchell's for ice cream. I tasted buko and jackfruit, opted for my usual banana. Good as always. My friend had Thai tea ice cream which I didn't care for, but she liked it. She got chocolate dip - I wasn't a huge fan of this either, the flavor wasn't quite right for me.

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  1. i love lahore karahi and guddu like nobody's business, but the service there really wears on me. i don't go anymore if it's busy, 'cause it ends up being a 1.5 hour meal, which is fine sometimes...... but other times you just want to eat.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Big Larry

      I completely agree with you about the service and the sheer amount of time expended.
      What I'd suggest is to place an order over the phone before you show up. That MO works out much better.

    2. After hearing lots of great things about Lahore Karahi from different sets of people, I decided to try it out with a few friends I normally eat at Shalimar with. We were extremely disappointed. The best items were the mint and tamarind sauces. We had tandoori chicken that was horribly undersalted, chicken karahi that was too sweet, and seekh kebab that was dry and like a brick. Maybe this was an off-night?

      3 Replies
      1. re: felice

        i dont think the chuteys at LK are that great, which affects my enjoyment of the kabobs.
        the mixed tandoori grill, which ostenisbly had the same chicken tandori you had, was
        horrible. i think that is a write off there.

        i like the butter chicken [not supposed to be really hot, so i wouldnt order it that way].
        the alu matter is ok. some random other meat-in-gravy dishes are good enough for $6 ...
        as discussed elsewhere, the bane of most of the cheep india places is their high
        variance. but at least they dont just give you 2-3 pieces of meat for $8 like some other
        places.

        the other item at LK that is good 90% of the time is the kheer [indian dessert item. $2].

        i also prefer to get take out from there. i dont relly like eating there.

        1. re: psb

          Agreed....

          Tandoori Chicken DRY.
          Chicken dish we had was too sweet. Maybe I don't know how it's supposed to taste, most of the other places were more salty and spicy. The chicken tasted fruity, maybe it's tamarind based?

          But...a lamb dish we had...there was at least 8-10 pieces of lamb meat...great value.

          Service: not that slow. From ordering to finishing, about 1 hour.

        2. re: felice

          The Tandoori fish positively rocks at Lahore. Another dish that hits the spot is 'Nihari'. Palak Aloo Methi is also excellent. I would avoid the Tandoori chicken here. I reckon the Tandoori chicken and kebabs at Shalimar are still the best, although the other dishes there have steadily declined in quality and quantity.

        3. I went last night with a couple of (south) Indian friends. On the whole, they liked LK: giving it a grade of about a B+ (or "a solid 13 on the Harvard scale" as my friend clarified).

          We had:
          vegetable pakora
          plain naan
          afghani naan
          tandoori fish
          aloo gobhi

          Pakora and plain naan were hits--everyone liked the naan's pillowy texture punctuated by bits of char. The gobhi was not dry enough, according to one diner, and overall the food was a bit too sweet, which they said was characteristic of Gujarati food (a province that borders Pakistan, homeland of Guddu, who owns LK). I was the only one who loved the tandoori fish, which I thought would be a sure-fire hit.

          They also didn't love the slow service. We waited for the naan to show up for several minutes with the main dishes cooling on our table--we did not order rice and used the naan as a platform for the food. At the end of the meal, we requested the check several times before walking up to the register to pay.

          I love LK and don't mind the relaxed service, especially when I'm dining by myself. I'm not sure if they'll return.