Positive Update on Om (South Indian) San Rafael
I've been a huge fan of this restaurant since it opened (sometime over a year ago). I went in a couple weeks ago for lunch, and was beside myself when I saw that they had begun serving a lunch buffet. I was worried that they had changed it up in order to compete with Bombay up the street, which serves a massive (and, to my taste, horrible) buffet.
I stubbornly ordered from the menu (spinach chicken), while my husband tried the buffet. We went back last week, and I have to say that the new setup is great. It's not a huge selection (which I think is a plus), but everything was terrific. There were about 10-12 items (not including dessert and condiments), including 2 kinds of curry with meat, another couple of vegetarian curries, spiced whole chicken drumsticks (*not* tandoori!), 2 kinds of soup, regular rice and a wonderful coconut rice. I don't remember the other stuff, but it was a good selection.
I was told the selection would vary daily, except for the drumsticks. Lunch also comes with your choice of a large masala dosa or chapaathi bread. Service is very attentive, and lunch is well-priced at $7.99. Check it out!
Om South Indian Cuisine
1518 Fourth Street
San Rafael, CA
Terril --You think Bombay serves a "horrible buffet"? Disagree.
Whenever I go I head right for the saag paneer (my favorite). Then for the mushroom thingie and the fried cauliflower. Plus a few other things to round out the plate. The mango ice cream finishes it off nicely.
Maybe you picked the wrong stuff.
Nice to hear that Om has the dosa as a lunch option.
I've been to BG several times since it opened, and by this time have been around the block there. I just think the food is bland and mushy, without much spice or differentiation. Usually the curries have more dairy than I like, and the chicken in the curries sometimes tastes like it was once tandoori. I find the lamb dishes to have way too much gristle and bone. I don't like the mango ice cream either! I also think it's gotten worse than when it first opened -- I just get the feeling that they are more interested in quantity than quality.
On the other hand (and this may not be a plus for everyone), Om's dishes are surprisingly spicy, even at the buffet. However, if you like saag, Om's version (sometimes served with shrimp or chicken) is fantastic. I don't know if it's fresh spinach, but it tastes really different from other saag or saag paneer I've had in the past. The texture is also not as soft.
I ate at Om yesterday and wanted to add my enthusiastic recommendation. The chicken drumsticks are huge and succulent. I liked, in no particular order, the dosa, perfectly crisp and a yummy potato/veggie filling enhanced by cashew nuts, lamb mangalore, savory meaty tender chunks of lamb, the tamarind rice, the raita, the coconut chutney, the sambal, soup with squash, carrots and okra, handy for dipping the dosa, and the kheer. My daughter enjoyed the melon, raita, and chickpea fritter thingies. I thought dishes were well, and differently, spiced, not at all bland. The signs over the buffet tell you the ingredients, which is helpful information.
I also have to commend the place for great customer service. The waiter was very friendly and attentive to me, my mother, and my year-old daughter. The cook came out with an idli he had made specially for her!
I think it is a fantastic value for $7.99. I just wish it were in the south bay. I will definitely be back the next time I'm in Marin.
The one negative I have to report, is that I didn't particularly like the chai. That said, I let it sit, so it was bitter, and I didn't add much sugar which probably would have helped.