Devon Ave./Indo-Pak recs please
First time to Devon ave...looking for suggestions for great biriyiani, tandoori, nihari & other specialties (and helpful parking hints :). Are there one or two musts? Also a rec for a sweets shop. I have one rec from back home & that is Sabri Nihari. There will be 8 of us including children for lunch & no buffet please. Thank you.
Had to pick between Sabri Nihari & Khan's BBQ & ended up at the former last Saturday. Traffic/parking wasn't as big an issue as I expected at 12:30 p.m. Did get congested as we left around 3:00.
The restaurant was nicer than I expected with wait service, reasonable decor & tablecloths (Mostly decorless, counter service type places in SF area). After perusing the somewhat foreign menu, we ordered the nihari (similar to pot roast but with dal gravy so to speak), malai chicken boti, chicken tikka boti, goat biriyani, frontier chicken, & naan. Unfortunately we were pretty disappointed with our meal except for the light, fluffy naan. I knew biriyani wasn't their strong suit but was expecting more than basmati rice loosely mixed with meat. Also, I was the only one who enjoyed the nihari but still not a compelling draw for a return visit. Malai boti (breast pieces for children as it wasn't spicy) had a nice gilled flavor but also an odd sour taste I couldn't put my finger on. Chicken tikka boti, much to our surprise & dismay, was dark meat. Everyone seemed to think the frontier chicken was the best of the lot (still not great)...spicy boneless chicken in slightly thick sauce. Having said all this, we did have one of the nicest servers *ever* in that he helped explain the menu, asked how everything was, if we needed anything, etc.
Afterwards, as we walked back in the direction of the car, we stoppedy by Sukhadia Sweets (niece LOVES Indian sweets) & Patel Bros. All the kids got a kulfi pop (malai & mango) & all seemed to enjoy it. Perhaps it was made in house as it came in a plastic cone container which you have to rub with hands to get kulfi out (kids liked that). I tasted the mango & thought it was good. Prior to this, the only kulfi pop we have enjoyed is from a company called Zee Foods (in cellephane wrapping). Patel Bros. was a trip! I have everything I need back home but fun to see Indian snacks available in self serve bins & also a "pickle" bar similar to an olive bar.
Our first foray into Devon Ave. was disappointing but luckily DS recently moved to Chicago area so we will be back next year & look forward to trying other places. DD & niece also wanted to stop by boutiques to pick up some bindhis & bangles so the trip was not a total loss. Last but not least, how I wish I had taken a picture of a sign that said "masala dosa, $2.99".
"Try not to fill up all in one place"...ha, good one! Just came from Austin, TX where a different group of 8 had a filling late lunch of Southwestern food & yet managed to buy approx. $100 worth of takeout Indian for dinner just because it was our first time there & couldn't decide :) Curse of being a chowhound..thanks!
Sabri for your nihari fix, yes.
Tandoori and biryani I can't comment on, I'm more of a gravy dish fan
I would suggest that you try to visit Khan Bbq for chicken boti and aloo gobi with a few paratha.
Snacks/Sweets - King Sweets, tahoora. Hit or miss on what's good and fresh.
Try not to fill up all in one place. Go to several. Also, if you don't have a decent Indian grocery, take a stroll through Patel Bros