Rangoli India Restaurant in San Jose
Went here last week on a recommendation from my boss, who said it was "fancy" Indian in the Amber India class but less pricey. I needed a place to take my dad, so thought this would be perfect. I personally prefer (cheap) southern Indian food, but variety is good for you (and my boyfriend violently hates south Indian, so that wasn't on the table). I was totally shocked (shocked, I tell you) that it was really, really good, but also in the Amber category as far as price.
Chicken Tikka Masala $13
Lesani Masala - garlic lamb curry: $17
Baingan Bhartha - Tandoor smoked eggplant: $13
Daal of the day, which was a yellow dal: $10
Paneer Saag - Spinach purée with diced farmers cheese: $13
Plain Naan: $2 (x2)
The Tikka Masala was a little sweet and rich for me, but everyone else swooned over it, and I'd order it again with no problem. The saag paneer was the best I've ever had, with a very bright fresh spinach flavor. Everything else was fantastic. The naan was a very small portion and a little tough, but didn't detract too much from the overall experience.
The other highlight was the the fact they have a very nice and decently priced wine list.My dad picked out a very nice Grüner Veltliner ($35), and the list also included a Vouvray and some interesting reds. The sommelier, Sonu Singh, came out to see who had actually ordered something other than a Chardonnay. He was super nice and brought us a complimentary tasting of an Indian wine, which wasn't half bad and did go nicely with the food. I think he's a little bored, but very enthusiastic and has put together a nice list.
Altogether for 4 people, with wine, the bill was around $130. Pricey, but comparable with Amber. However, for the South Bay, I'd much rather go here, as I've found the Santana Row Amber to be sub-par.
Rangoli India Restaurant
3695 Union Avenue, San Jose, CA 95124
Okay, I'll write now. Been meaning to but knew it would be long and kept putting it off:-)
Finally tried Rangoli lunch buffet in December using my visiting parents as an excuse to drive from Menlo Park. After reading about their "upscale" decor, sommelier, I was very eager to find something on par with or better than Amber. Granted, buffet is no comparison to a la carte dinner but I was just hoping that the taste, fresh quality I've heard so much about at dinner would somehow translate to buffet as well. Alas, that was not the case.
For $9.99 -
Fresh Naan brought to table - yum
Tandoori chicken - I just didn't like the flavor, wasn't smoky & flavorful enough. My parents thought it was okay but may be because they don't get much Teanduri Chickn' in the Heart o' Texas.
Chicken 65 - Deep orangy red, somewhat chunky & soggy
Lamb curry - Really good, best of the buffet
Chicken tikka masala - Not a fan in general because it is usually heavy and creamy, and Rangoli's version didn't surprise me (tasted off mom's plate & she didn't like it either; a little sweet too)
Okra masala (cut 1/2" small with sliced onions, lots and lots of it) - fresh tasting, this could have been really nice but the amount of onions hindered me from appreciating my favorite vegetable side dish in the world
Bitter gourd - thinly sliced & deep fried, this is an acquired taste and is normally not found in restaurants. I liked it; however, it could have been a little more crisp
Pulao/S.Indian rice dish (in addition to plain basmati rice) - looked S. Indian due to mustard seeds but when asked, a server or dining room helper said it was "vegetable biriyani". I don't think so! It was fairly bland and just didn't taste like any particular rice dish nor were there any vegetables. My dad thought it may have been tamarind rice.
Other usual suspects were Dal, another veg. dish, & pakoras - fine, nothing special. As for dessert, this buffet easily had the most items I've ever seen in an Indian restaurant. Carrot halwa, custard with bananas, jalebis, and various other sweets. The only dessert I like was the custard as everything else was too sweet or too dry or both.
Fast forward to New Year's Day lunch buffet at Amber Mountain View. New, different items & tasty; only disappointment was tandoori chicken. Were they drummettes? Maybe they put all their money that day into the fabulous goat curry. BTW, my previous visit to Amber Mtn. View buffet was Spring 2006 & was not nearly this good.
Naan brought to table - delicious
Light, crisp, spinach pakoras - "
Squash blossoms kofta curry - "
Black eyed peas curry - "
Taro root and potato/dry masala - good
Goat Curry - delicious
Chicken curry or tikka masala - memory fails me but I didn't have it
Dal - good as usual
Dessert - rice pudding, not bad & gulab jamun, good not too sweet
Hmm, not sure if I'm forgetting another vegetable...
Okay, my heart, stomach, glutes, etc. are done with Indian buffets until my parents' next visit!