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Clay Pit Cuisine of India. Almost a stellar experience.

I am a little pressed to give the restaurant four stars. The food was pretty good. We had the Mediterranean Lamb, a dish where they roll lamb with spinach and goat cheese inside and bake it. We had it at a four heat rating, and it was fairly hot, but the wine in the curry did not register at all. The other main dish was Kothmir Salmon. This was supposedly fresh salmon rubbed with garlic and ginger, pan seared and baked and then covered with a tamarind-coconut sauce. I asked for it with a four heat level, but it was not as hot as the lamb. I liked this dish a lot till I got to a part of the salmon that tasted off (meaning not fresh). I tried three areas of the two fillets and only the one area tasted off.
We also had Saag Chole, a vegetarian dish of garbanzo beans in a spinach curry. This was good.
We had garlic and basil naan. The basil was not noticeable, even though there were minuscule flecks of green on the naan.
One of my biggest issues was the young, non-Indian woman who waited on us. She was abrupt, curt and brought the check at the same time that we received our desert. On the other hand, the owner was very attentive and came by several times.
I would go back as this is the best Indian food I have had in Seattle so far and the menu is interesting though somewhat lacking in depth. While we have been spoiled by Thali in New Haven, CT, this was a decent experience. We had a bottle of Wolf Blass shiraz and spent $100 plus gratuity.

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  1. And yet you report that your fish had rotted? You think many people will go there now? So is it true: does a fish rot from the head downwards? I've never tried to eat rotten fish, and certainly wouldn't pay $100 for the experience!

    4 Replies
    1. re: PeteSeattle

      You are exaggerating the condition of the fish, though there might be some truth to "starting from the head back"... the smaller end of the fillets were better than the one front end.
      After a number of good bites the salmon tasted less than fresh. It tasted much more "fishy". Is that better?

      1. re: ardelle

        I agree with Pete Seattle in that the word "off" indicates that it was rotten/spoiled, not just "not fresh". Glad you clarified it a bit. Sounds like a good place. If you're in the Redmond area and want to try a very good Indian restaurant, I would recommend Kanishka (http://kanishkaofredmond.com/). They do a surprisingly good lunch buffet (I'm a big skeptic of buffets generally) and normal dinner service in the evenings. They're very accommodating when dealing with modifications to exclude specific ingredients (where possible) and I've never had a dish there with which I wasn't absolutely satisfied.

      2. re: PeteSeattle

        I realized this morning that cooked fish (or meat) doesn't go "off" in a short time. In order for this fish to have tasted "off" it must have been "off" before it was cooked.

        1. re: PeteSeattle

          Brilliant Pete SEA, you have an amazing grasp of the obvious... fish usually goes bad when it sits, and isn't cooked in time. Congrats on your helpful comments, as usual. bleh.

      3. Is this the Clay Pit in Mill Creek? That's a surprisingly good place. A good variety on the menu with some creativity on everyday curry house dishes.

        6 Replies
        1. re: HungWeiLo

          Yes, it is in Mill Creek. And to davidmcarson, Thanks for the tip. I tend to avoid buffets like the plague. The only buffet I will go back to, if I am in the area, is Coromandel in Orange, CT. Hmm.. Are Indian buffets better than most?

          1. re: ardelle

            Living in Mill Creek, we have eaten at Clay Pit often. We now prefer the Masala Grill, a few miles south of Mill Creek on the Bothell-Everett highway. We have not tried the buffet there, though. The food at Masala is more reasonably priced and better spiced.

            1. re: MillCreek

              Thanks for that recommendation, MillCreek. We've also eaten at Clay Pit many times (we live near Picnic Point in Edmonds/Mukilteo area) but are always put off by their very laughable and inconsistent service. We used to eat at the Masala near Northgate years ago, and really enjoyed it. Look forward to trying Masala Grill!

              1. re: MillCreek

                I think Masala Grill and Mayuri are both pretty bad and I've stopped going to them a while back. Mayuri is especially soiling their namesake with their Bothell location - it certainly is not anywhere close to their Redmond flagship restaurant. Their menu also seems to be more limited in the Bothell location. The difference in quality and menu selection is puzzling given the large Indian population in the Bothell/Mill Creek area.

                Masala I found to be very "sauce out of a jar" even at dinner time. Their lunch buffet is even worse. At around the time they opened, we used to be pretty big fans of the place - up until they decided to skimp big time on the ingredient quality (we're talking microwaved naan here - I suspect that Mayuri also does this sometimes in Bothell). Even during the first couple days of operation, we were talking to the owner and he complained nonstop about how much money he was spending in this new place. As with most of these types of places, they up the quality at the beginning to attract a following, but skimp on quality and value afterwards - they've been on this downward trend for probably a year or two now. They may have better service (not significantly so, but it's noticeable), but I'd much care for good food than service.

                I've found food at Clay Pit to be much more better spiced than Masala or Mayuri - but only ordering off the menu. All 3 tend to tone down their spice a whole lot for the lunch buffet crowd, but Clay Pit seems to do it the most.

                1. re: HungWeiLo

                  I like that "soiling their namesake" comment.
                  So where are the "TOP" places in Seattle? I'm willing to go as far as downtown from Lynnwood.

                  1. re: ardelle

                    Seattle basically only has the typical tikka masala sauce-over-rice type places. The only worthwhile places seem to be in Bellevue/Redmond - Spice Route or Mayuri. These guys can make at least an adequate dosa or vada dish.

                    If you venture a bit more south, Pabla in Renton has very good vegetarian - very high quality ingredients are used. There's also a Pabla in downtown Seattle that is non-veggie, but doesn't seem nearly as good. In Renton, many people have raved about Naan and Curry, but I wasn't too terribly impressed by it.

          2. This goes a long way to explaining that I've never had a good experience in a restaurant where the food was so expensive the staff couldn't afford to eat it themselves! If letting the food go stale might hurt them personally, they make sure it's good. If the class difference between staff and clientelle is so great that there's disrespect and hatred between them, then this happens. Places like Canlis have workers who actually can afford to eat the food themselves. Otherwise such places would have closed a long time ago.

            1 Reply
            1. re: PeteSeattle

              Huh? What is this comments on class difference between wait staff/ kitchen help and the DR guests? Why do you say that that Canlis DR staff can afford to 'eat the food served' and other places they cannot?
              What are you talking about?
              Most Resto staff are very knowledgeable about food, and enjoy great food; if they choose, they can go to many resto's for late night/day off eats at places where they know about the chef's food, or eat their boss's tasty concoctions either as 'family meal' at their places, on their day off on discount, or other.
              What is this 'class war' you are reffering too?