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Aslam's Rasoi - great northern indian food, valencia & 22nd

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brian Jun 4, 2006 01:14 AM

Okay, I searched and couldn't find anything about this restaurant -- Aslam's Rasoi -- on Chowhound so I feel morally compelled to post about it.

First, I'm not actually affiliated with this restaurant. Well, I have a loose affiliation, in that I live a block away from it and really like it and would like it not to close.

Aslam's Rasoi opened a month or two ago on Valencia just south of 21st street, right across the street from Ritual Coffee Roasters. Before it opened, in that same space was a different Indian restaurant, named Rasoi, that was decidedly mediocre.

I'm not sure why they didn't change the name more dramatically, but at any rate every time I walk by the place there's almost nobody eating there. I think people don't realize it's a new restaurant.

The chef is Mohammed Aslam, previously of Roti and India Oven before that. The food is awesome. I am, right now, eating the Paneer Tikka Masala and their Goat Cheese Naan, with a Roohafza (yogurt & rose.) It's pretty straight-up Northern Indian cuisine, but the spicing is really nuanced and original and the food is just top-notch. It doesn't taste like generic North Indian food, it's in a league of its own as far as restaurants I've been to in SF so far.

Prices are in the low-to-middle range, a "high one dollar sign", in the citysearch parlance. My meal, for example (entree, naan, yogurt drink) was $21.

I have to think it's just their poor marketing & failure to pick a new exciting name that is resulting in the slow business, because Dosa, a block north, is routinely so packed there's a wait, and while it's not an apples-to-apples comparison (Dosa is southern Indian, not northern) I think Dosa is the inferior of the two.

I'd encourage everyone to give them a shot, especially because then they're less likely to close on me!

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    cedichou RE: brian Jun 4, 2006 04:35 AM

    Here is why people should try Aslam's Rasoi: it is pretty much the same menu as the Indian Oven, and Indian Oven is currently closed due to a fire in the kitchen.

    Have been there, and the food was very good. Atmosphere a bit quiet, but this place will pick up business through word of mouth. Prices are also similar to Indian Oven, which is a biy hard to fathom, since the laws of supply and demand apply quite differently at Aslam's than at I.O.

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      farmersdaughter RE: brian Jun 5, 2006 02:30 PM

      Thanks so much for alerting us to the change. I didn't like Rasoi very much, and thought that the name change to Aslam's Rasoi was just a new sign and not a new owner. I will definitely give it a try!

      P.S. In lieu of Rasoi, we have been ordering takeout at Alhamra on 16th near Valencia. Alhamra is excellent; in my opinion much better than nearby Pakwan and at a similar price point. And they deliver.

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        NoeMan RE: brian Jul 2, 2006 02:24 AM

        Just got back from there and wow Brian you are so right. We had the old Rasoi for delivery once and were not impressed. We ate there early this evening but the place was only 20% full. This is the best Indian food we have had in SF, bar none. And the place is beautiful and the service is outstanding. Let's hope the word gets out and this place gets it's due, but saves room for us.

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          Lord Griffin RE: brian Jul 2, 2006 04:45 AM

          Went there tonight based on this post. As ive said in other posts after an exhaustive search for great indian food i finally found lahore karahi and have been going there way too often. at aslams tonight my gf and i shared the seekh kabab, saag gosht, lamb vindaloo, matar paneer, and samosas. It was all good. however... the saag gosht is definitely better imo at lahore karahi, the vindaloo, while a different style, i liked about the same, the matar paneer was equal in quality and yumminess, the samosas i think are better at lahore karahi, and the kebab was slightly better here (it was freakin delicious).

          spice wise, the extremely friendly chef/owner of lahore karahi really knows hows to spice it up for you. i felt at aslams exactly how i felt at indian oven. they must think we americans just dont know how to take it.

          overall i think aslams is a great indian restaurant. my final bill with tip was 78$. i could have eaten the same stuff, and liked it just as much if not slightly more at lahore karahi for a little over half the price.

          needless to say ill stick with lahore karahi. i do wish aslams was cheaper though. i would definitely go back if the price point was the same.

          1. Atomica RE: brian Nov 21, 2006 12:52 AM

            Bringing back this thread to say that as I drove by Aslam's Rasoi today, it looked all papered over. Is it out of business?

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              evangross RE: brian Nov 21, 2006 01:05 AM

              we ate there on saturday night. nothing was going on to suggest they were about to remodel or anything like that.

              The food was delicious by the way. Their Raita is the best I've had in the city.

              1 Reply
              1. re: evangross
                Atomica RE: evangross Jan 12, 2007 02:13 AM

                As a followup to my earlier post asking if they were out of business: When you drive past the place, their shades look like brown paper and completely cover all of the windows. When I actually walked by, I realized they were shades and not brown paper.

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                dunstable RE: brian Nov 22, 2006 06:18 PM

                No, not out of business as of last night, anyway.

                The food is delicious; that is almost inarguable. And the service is perfectly fine. But man, the portions! They're not any smaller than the ones at any other Indian restaurant in SF, so I guess it's not a valid criticism, but man! If I pay $15 for a lamb dish, it would be nice to get more than eight small slivers of it.

                Yah, if Aslam's were as cheap as Al-Hamra, I'd probably eat there all the time.

                1 Reply
                1. re: dunstable
                  Robert Lauriston RE: dunstable Nov 22, 2006 06:23 PM

                  At Naan 'n' Curry, $12 will get you three orders of seekh kebab.

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                  Lil_Miss_Foodie_SF RE: brian Jan 12, 2007 12:33 AM

                  We had 15 peole for a birthday dinner for my husband at Alsam Rasoi last weekend. They were super accomodating and the food was really good. I really like this place because, even though it is a little pricey, everything tastes so fresh and does not have that layer or grease on top that you see at Shalimar or Pakwan.

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                    SteveG RE: brian Jan 12, 2007 07:45 PM

                    Overall the food was pretty good, better than what we've found in San Francisco but it pales in comparison to a place like Ajanta in north Berkeley.

                    We ate there New Year's Day for an early dinner, and they were completely full.

                    Prices also must have come down, because 4 of us ate well for something like $25 a person if I remember correctly.

                    The chef's stint at India Oven coincides with when we used to enjoy the place; we went back to India Oven unwittingly after Aslam left and found it pretty poor.

                    1. tara RE: brian Jan 14, 2007 12:06 AM

                      Count me in as a fan of Aslam's Rasoi. We've eaten there twice and loved the food both times. Yes, it's pricey; we order delivery from Al Hamra for much less money. But the ingredients are much better quality, and the food is generally tastier than at the less expensive places in the Pakwan/Tasty Curry/Naan 'n' Curry vein.

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                        slippersong RE: brian Apr 12, 2008 09:18 AM

                        These posts are older, but my daughter and I, who live in this area, went to Aslam's on a Friday night, around eight, and the place was packed so we gave up and went somewhere else. I was happy for them. I thought they were not doing so well. I have had 4 or 5 excellent meals there (including Christmas dinner with my folks). I, too, wish they were not quite so pricey (still worth it), and that they had changed their name.

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