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Sakoon (Mountain View)

Anyone been to Sakoon on Castro in Mountain View ? It's in the old (2nd) TK Noodle location across the hall from Sono Sushi.

Side note: It seems to have been open only one week, and already there are 15 verbose reviews on Yelp. I assume that means most of them were guests/friends/relatives of management, and their opinions should be ignored. Which is why I'm asking here instead.

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  1. The menu looks very promising. It's on my list of places to try in the near future, but I haven't made it there yet. Why don't you check it out and let us know what you think?

    Michael

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    Sakoon
    357 Castro Street, Mountain View, CA 94041

    2 Replies
    1. re: mdg

      I tried the lunch buffet at Sakoon today. I was lured by the tempting menu and the description of the dishes on Yelp.
      The buffet is definitely among the better Indian buffets out there. There is an extensive selection of vegetarian dishes and a good mix of the tried and tested dishes and a few new ones. The salad bar had a kidney bean salad and a chicken salad which was excellent. The chicken was marianted in kebab spices and was very moist and flavorful . The standouts in the buffet were paneer bhurji ( the indian answer to veggie scrambled eggs), the mutton seekh kebab, the sweet and spicy eggplant curry & the seafood molly. There was also a veggie tawa fry ( stir fry) which was fantastic. The buffet also included butter chicken, lamb curry & yellow dal which were very good but not great. The desserts included rice kheer, gulab jamun & mango halwa. The desserts were disappointing and I recommend skipping them.Since it was lunch time I did not try their cocktails but I did try the virgin mojito and was impressed .

      I was not too impressed by the decor which was over the top buddha bar/lounge with trance music playing in the background. While the decor seems pretentious and over the top, the food definitely has substance.

      Overall the buffet was good but my main complaint was that all the dishes were drowning in oil. In spite of the greasiness the flavors do stand out, but they would do well if they went easy on the fat. I definitely will go back for dinner to give the al a carte menu a go.

      1. re: vaparna

        The food wasn't overly oily at all last week when I ate the buffet. I'm particularly sensitive to this, because I don't much like greasy food. One of the head guys was asking lots of questions about the food and ambiance, so he must have heard some complaints about greasiness and responded. He told me that they'd be serving different food from day to day, which is always a nice thing, and some of the dishes vaparna mentions were not there when I was.

        I was favorably impressed by everything I ate except the fish tawa, which was salty.

        At first, I was OK with the decor, but it wore on me quickly. There's not much light in there, either, which I don't really get, and it was too cold for me, though maybe nobody else minded. I complained about it, though, and they warmed it up.

        I live in the 'hood and am really excited about the prospect of a good restaurant on Castro. It's quantity over quality there and this could be a major exception. I can't think of a lunch buffet I've liked as much as this one.

        I'm looking forward to trying dinner.

    2. We finally tried Sakoon tonight and were very impressed. It looks at long last that Silicon Valley has Modern Indian done right:

      - Authentic Indian tastes with no fear of spices
      - Updating with California ingredients and some innovative twists
      - Reasonable prices for the quality: entrees are generally in the $15-$20 range

      Other previous attempts at modern Indian in Silicon Valley have generally done only the second, while underspicing and overpricing.

      Everything we tried was excellent with full and vibrant flavor. The trio of samosas was outstanding, though one of the samosas, delicious as it was, did not seem to match the menu description. The heirloom and watermelon salad sounded too interesting to pass up. It was also delicious, but here too differed from the menu description: the roasted walnuts were minimal, but there were grapes in addition to the generous portions of watermelon and tomato. The spices listed were roasted coriander and fennel, but to my taste it seemed like ground curry leaves were involved (but I don't know if I have had roasted fennel before, so maybe that was indeed it).

      For entrees we had two smash successes: a wonderfully deeply flavored soft shell crab vindaloo, and outstanding tandoori prawns with eggplant chutney. Excellent rice and good naan accompanied. The wine by the glass list is wonderfully well chosen; our glasses of Albarino and Torrontes went very well with the more wine friendly shrimp and tomato/watermelon dishes. We would have picked something else if we wanted them to stand up to the vindaloo, but the samosas were also spicy and richly flavored enough to dominate these white wines.

      Some of the discrepancies may have been caused by the restaurant getting slammed just before we arrived - with our reservation we filled in the last table in the place, and most of these people had apparently arrived quite recently. The place has only been open a few weeks so there are still some service kinks to work out. But the food is already exquisite. We will certainly be back to explore more of this delightful menu.

      Castro Street has always had a lot of good neighborhood restaurants. Now with places like Sakoon and Nami Nami, it appears to be developing a roster of destination restaurants as well.

      Michael

      3 Replies
      1. re: mdg

        Our second visit was just as tasty as the first, and with the glitches worked out. We started with the dum aloo soup and avocado jhalmuri aloo. The soup was new potatoes and cherry tomatoes in a bowl, over which is poured a yummy and tangy broth. The second was like a reconstructed new-wave chaat, with the three named ingredients in layers, visually (but not culinarliy) dominated by the jhalmuri.

        For entrees we had the tandoori game hen and the Kerela fish curry. The tandoori was excellent, and came with nice touches such as a couple of deliciously marinated onion slices - and presented on a plate, no sizzler overcooking your dish while you wait. The fish curry managed the feat of letting you notice the outstanding taste of the fish while presenting a rich, multiflavored coconut-based curry. The waiter recommended a glass of Amador Zin with the fish curry, and it actually went very well with everything except the somewhat citrusy soup.

        Sakoon continues to excel, setting the standard for Modern Indian (but authentic!) in Silicon Valley.

        Michael

        1. re: mdg

          great review mdg. would you say this is the best place for indian in silicon valley right now?

          1. re: 52X

            Best for what? Best for a modern Indian dinner, absolutely! If you compare to places like Junoon, Mantra, or Turmeric, this is far better. I haven't been to Amber since Sakoon opened. In the past, Amber has gotten better as their competition got more formidable, so maybe that will happen again.

            But there are plenty of great places with dishes you'll get better noplace else. Nobody matches the gongura dishes at Taste Buds. Nobody else has the Sri Lankan dishes that are at Spicy Leaves. Nobody makes achari dishes as good as Hyderabad House. (I haven't had the achari dish at Sakoon yet; from the menu description I'm pretty confident in that judgment.) I'll take the dosas at Madras Cafe over anyone else's, though there are numerous worthy alternatives in different styles.

            Indian cuisine is a vast territory. No one restaurant is going to be "the best" for everything in that cuisine.

            And for lunch buffets, I have no idea - I am no fan of that genre.

            If you go, let us know what you think and what your favorite dishes are!

            Michael

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          1. The lunch buffet here is great. I believe it surpasses Turmeric. Quality of most dishes is higher, a little less oil, a little more spice, about $2 more per person ($13 -> $15).

            3 Replies
            1. re: bbulkow

              It surpasses Turmeric pretty handily, to my tastes. But I'd say it's less spicy. Depends on what day you pick, I think. They change most of the dishes from day to day.

              I've still yet to order off the menu. Gotta go for dinner or resist the buffet at lunch.

              1. re: maigre

                By "spicy" I don't mean "hot" I mean ... with spices. Some days, Turmeric is hot like crazy, but usually it's simply good --- but Sakoon is just better.

              2. re: bbulkow

                I agree. We tried last week and enjoyed it. I usually don't like tandoori chx on a buffet but it was good. butter chx OK, but I am not a butter chx person. Favorite was the saag with corn and chicken malai.

                Desserts were just OK.