Spring Sev Puri – Today’s Return to Juhu Beach Club in San Francisco
My plans to head to the Thursday market at Ferry Plaza for lunch were tossed aside this morning as soon as I saw this tweet from Juhu Beach Club,
Here’s our order of Spring Sev Puri, $4. Black salt (salt, cumin & cayenne), freshened up with lemon juice and yogurt, asparagus relish, cubes of potato, pickled onions, red and green chutneys, cilantro, and extra crispy sev over crackly puri.
The salty/spicy zing of the black salt introduced tiny microbursts of flavor to surprise and delight the palate with extra love. Chef Preeti said her mother helped out by frying the sev for her. That added freshness made them crispier. We really liked the heat level of the spicing and the fresh acidity. Last night I had a snoozingly boring papdi chaat at Dosa in the Mission. JBC’s was miles better.
I also had the Sloppy Lil' P. Having more than one bite this time, I had a fuller appreciation of the range of textures and layers of spicing. With the pickled red onions, and the satisfyingly crunchy housemade pickled veggies on the side, this felt like a complete tour of the spring garden. My friend had the chowpatty chicken sandwich and pronounced it delicious.
At 12:30p today, we saw four other customers during our time here. As much as I’m enjoying the benefits of the chef’s full attention in prepping my lunch, she deserves a far bigger following than this.
Curry Dive Report: Chowdown at Juhu Beach Club in San Francisco
995 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Juhu Beach Club
, San Francisco, CA
I think you just missed us on Thursday. I persuaded a friend who cooks excellent Indian food to join me for an early lunch in part to sample larger amounts of a couple of our favorite dishes at the Chowdown the previous Friday. I don't subscribe to JBC's Twiller feed, and had no idea what Sev Puri are, but we were attracted by the description on the sidewalk special board and gave it a try. We also shared the braised beef sandwich and the grilled chicken sandwich, and each had a mango lassi.
We both agreed that the Sev Puri was the highlight of our shared meal. The spicing of the curries was complex, and had just the right amount of heat for my palate. I loved the way the texture of the crunchy vegetables was complemented by the crispy sev. We enjoyed the sandwiches as well. My friend said he would return with his partner, as will I.
I also enjoyed being able to eat a full half of each sandwich. The chef obliged us by cutting the sandwiches in half, something she doesn't like to do, but can do if requested at the time of ordering. Don't even try to get her to split the sandwiches further, as we learned at the Chowdown!
Sorry to miss you and thanks for posting. I hope that Chef Preeti will be offering more types of chaat with our local veggies. She has such a good feel for what works. Chaat tends to be very starchy so it was great to have more fresh greenery and juicy crunch.
I'll mention that when I was across the street at Bar Agricole I asked the manager whether he'd tried Juhu Beach Club for lunch yet. He said he had and that the food was great. I said i'd hoped it would become as big a daytime destination as Agricole has been at night to freshen up the neighborhood.
355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Juhu Beach Club
, San Francisco, CA
re: Melanie Wong
The first thing I did when I got there yesterday was ask Chef Preeti for the chaat – unfortunately she wasn’t serving it that day. The special of the day was an egg curry sandwich.
So psb and I had a couple of things.
Holy Slow Braised Cow, $9 - Smoky black cardamom short rib sandwich with cucumber raita on an Acme bun.
Chowpatty Chicken, $7 - Green chili chicken sandwich with tangy cabbage slaw.
When we collected the order, I asked for some extra chutney, etc. and I was offered some hot sauce and raita – much welcome, since the chicken seemed a bit dry to me.
The person taking the order tried to up sell us on sharing the samosa plate, but I just can’t get myself to pay $6 for two samosas.
Chef Preeti was nice to halve the sandwiches for us, even after they were served. She mentioned she was going to put together an ordering FAQ because it was more difficult to cut the sandwiches after they were constructed.
I think the cow was the better of the two. It was really well cooked, dripping with delicious fat – flavors were vibrant and could taste the cardamom and maybe a hint of cinnamon and really no need to add extra condiments. The acme bun held up really well and overall this was pronounced the winner.
The chicken was not impressive. It was well cooked but a little bland overall. I like the idea of using a veggie cabbage dish (in Gujarati - shaak) as a foil for the chicken, but the cabbage just clashed with the chicken in an unpleasant way.
And my friend psb is not a fan of turmeric - which was dominant, come to think of it.
The hot sauce was really excellent – not searing heat and just perfect; it reminded me of the hot sauce bottled by Scott Y at Maverick in the Mission.
Overall a great effort, I will return for sure. I would like to try another of her specials and the mango lassi.
re: Robert Lauriston
Dahi puri with black chickpeas was the best chaat I've ever had. Great mix of textures and flavors.
Shoulda, coulda, vada chaat, nice crisp fried ball of mashed potatoes with greens etc., very nice, never had anything like that before.
My favorite was the mung ne dal, a thick lentil soup with croutons. Made me realize I could make the dal I make at home thick, too.
Pav bhaji and holy cow were really good, though really messy. I wish I'd thought of rearranging them to eat open-face before I took a bite. I assume the rolls came from La Victoria, really quite good. They had some samples of a $4-a-loaf levan out by the door, they're definitely improving their product line.
Little surprise shot glass of salty mango lassi at the end.
She's got two more scheduled for the 19th and Feb. 2.
re: Robert Lauriston
I attended last night's popup meal with high hopes of introducing pals to Preeti's cooking but I think it was a little bit of an off night for her. I have eaten at her popup stand before and loved it. The spicing and tastes throughout the meal just weren't as lively as I recall her food to be. Same menu as Robert's:
Vada chaat - Everyone in our group noticed on the acrid taste of the mustard seed or oil in the greens. Not sure if it should taste that way but it was offputting enough to cause me not to finish the greens.
Mung ne dal - Universal fave, this one is a keeper.
Holy cow - I've had this glorious sandwich and loved every bite, before but the version we had last night wasn't as spiced or as fatty as before. It tasted like a mild beef sandwich. It wasn't memorable in the way I know it can be.
Preeti came out and chatted with the tables. Very friendly person. She says she is going to be spending her time gearing up for her new restaurant. I'm hoping for the return of the flavors we know she can deliver and not toned down versions like these for her upcoming venture.
On a related note, we enjoyed the La Victoria setting, it's casual in a funky way. It's always nice when people open their spaces up to multiple uses. We'd definitely go for another outing there.