Awesomeness alert - Sana (Indian and Pakistani cuisine)
I posted a quick review here:
I'm sure many of you are familiar with this place, but I was completely oblivious. I discovered it last night and am seriously considering going back. Like, tonight.
I went here recently with a friend of Indian descent visiting from Boston. He had read this post and was intrigued. It's the real deal. We ordered garlic naan, okra, a kebab, a lamb dish, and butter chicken. Everything was great, but the butter chicken was sublime, a dish I will not soon forget and will need to go back for again soon. Too much food for the 2 of us but the leftovers were just as good a few days later so over-ordering turned out to be a good strategy. Sure, the atmosphere is not fine dining, but the food, oh my.
Tried this place out a few days ago. Honestly, a fairly average offering based on what we had. Naan was good, as was the channa samosa (nice tamarind sauce, though my Indian dining partner likes the one at Curry House better). Butter chicken was decent but too watery and not sweet enough. Chicken jalfrezi was the biggest disappointment as this dish is typically spicy, and we told the waiter we wanted it as such. Our spiciness request seemed to be ignored, and we also found the bell pepper overpowered the rest of the flavours.
Service was rather unfriendly. All things considered I prefer other south Asian restos in the area, like Moti Mehal.
As someone of Pakistani background, I used to go to Sana quite a bit. It *was* as close to my mother's cooking as I had ever had. Recently though they have suffered a bit in quality, will have to ask what's up, new chef perhaps?
Recommend: Any of the Kormas. The butter chicken, a dish to which I'm normally opposed since it's neither Pakistani (nor Indian for that matter) is quite good. And they call it Chicken Tikka Masala as they should. ;-). Usually good sized piece of tandoori chicken. The biryani is nothing to write home about, but something alot of non-pakistanis don't try is the Chargha chicken. A whole chicken, steamed and deepfried (no skin). It's among my favourites..
Hope the quality comes back up, it's a bit bland these days, but a few comments from his regulars and i'm sure he'll turn things around.
Butter chicken is an Indian dish. Chicken Tikka masala is neither Indian or Pakistani according to most sources. The story is that it was created in the UK for a diner that complained his tandoori chicken was too dry, so the chef whipped up a sauce made from condensed tomato soup and spices.
Correct me if I'm wrong.
Sana has more of a pakistani touch to their food than any indian food place I tried in Montreal. The boys are pakistani I think so it's kind of normal.
Pakistani biryani chicken taste, like night and day, compared to any indian food places.
My verdict about Sana or 786 is that I like their cuisine much better than indian places like moti nahal or punjab because to me pakistani food taste less sweet. I'm craving for the SANA chana chick peas. I imagine a poutine with that sauce. mmmmm!
To me SANA it's considered a whole in the wall in my book . You don't go there for the money they spent on their tables and wall paintings.. The price went up in the past 6 months but it's still a joke to eat there. 4 people for 20$ each and we ate lots and lots of food. like 1 chicken charga, dal 3 kinds, alou gobi, palak paneer , butter chicken, chicken biryani, lamb biryanni, tandoori legs, kabab, and naans.
Another Pakistani open on a bit further ouest on jarry but i didn't like the quality of their food and service took forever.
I finally checked it out and it is an AWESOME chow find. I went for take-out Friday at 4-5 pm and the place was full of regulars (clearly of the Pakistani community) enjoying thalis and orders of lamb biryani. I ordered samosas, seekh kebab, rice, naan, lamb boti masala, channa masala, an okra curry and the infamous butter chicken. Everything was very good and quite a bit spicier than your average indian place but the standouts were the lamb curry (soft, melt in your mouth meat in a drying curry) and the butter chicken (silky smooth, not sweet, the right amount of spice and loaded with fenugreek). I will definitely return for the chicken charga and some biryani. Friends that shared the meal with us couldn,t get over how fantastic everything was. Thanks for the rec to the OP.