New Sultan Still Good? Mar 08
Thanks for the quick confirmations. Sorry about the "tips and tricks?" phrasing... I really meant, "what's good? anything I should order? secret menu items?" Which I could have written more directly.
Went for dinner; it is immediately adjacent to a 24hr Naan n' Curry which also was heavily patronized. It makes that particular block across from the Hilton smell fantastic, though.
Sultan is quite a bit nicer than the typical quick curry joint (maybe with the exception of the restroom, which was merely ok)(I am deciding whether or not to include restroom discussions in every review a la "hhc" or bunrab's website; what do you think)(never mind, I'm not really going to do so). Meaning it has nicer chairs and plates, and the food is plated with a little flair and fancy looking bowls. It also means that the price points were substantially higher; appetizers were $7-11, and mains were $10-14, including the vegetable dishes. Some of the grilled meat items went as high as $19-20.
Lamb kabob and chicken kabob were nicely browned and seasoned with a good, typical seekh kabob type seasoning, slightly more muted than my usual places (House of Curries, Albany and Indus Village, Berkeley) and not as spicy. The chicken in particular we ordered as a mild item for the kids; good flavor and seasoning, if somewhat salty.
The fried chicken appetizer I thought was good, chunks of chicken dusted in chaat spices and a little starch and deep-fried, served with tamarind sauce. Meat samosas were little turnovers (4) in thin crust (like most West coast egg rolls) rather than the more usual pastry-like crust. These had very good flavor and were served with a mint-yogurt sauce.
Kerala fish curry was good, filets in a yellow curry with a lot of things going on and of which coconut (beyond coconut milk) was a distinct element, but which I can't describe much better. The tikka masala analog (can't remember the specific name) was pretty good, thicker than average and balanced seeming, not too creamy, though I could have done with more agressive seasoning. Eggplant mutter was a nice eggplant and peas sautee with tomatoes and spices, not saucy. This dish was the oiliest of the bunch and was not very, in comparison to most of the places I go to.
Naan was ok, rice was ok, both especially in comparison to Indus Village, which I would call very good to excellent.
I should note that we ordered everything mild in response to a request from our guests. However, several dishes contained a distinct residue of heat, which I was grateful for but which made the most sensitive member of our group gape like a goldfish for a little bit. Nothing dramatic. We were asked "Mild, medium or spicy?" so it's possible that a request for spicy would be duly honored. (Left to my own devices I usually order spicy unless previous experience suggests that to be a mistake at that particular restaurant).
I am tempted to go back and try more dishes, and to order "spicy," but on balance, I enjoy the somewhat lower priced, albeit less nice and a little more greasy, places so much that it almost seems a waste to me to spend so much more. So we'll see. I'll definitely remember the 24hr Naan n' Curry for a try next time I'm out late, unless it turns out to be one of the awful ones. Anybody know?
Tips & Tricks? Go for the Friday Buffet... for special dishes... go early at 11:30 am or just before noon, the tables fill quickly on Fridays. At the end... request a cup of hot chai, included in $12 daily lunch buffet.
The evening dinner menu offers a delectable range of dishes not to be missed - especially the shrimp : )