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Guddu de Karahi Opening Oct 15 [SF]

Guddu de Karahi just tweeted its opening date.

"The day we have all been waiting for. October 15"

https://twitter.com/GudduDeKarahi/sta...

More info here,
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8105...

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  1. John and I ate there yesterday and loved it. The restaurant is small but comfortable and modern. We never ate at Guddu's other restaurant, but we thoroughly enjoyed this one. The samosa was delicious -- spiced mashed potato wrapped in a very crispy crust that tasted even better with the spicy creamy chutney and the tamarind chutney served with it. We also had daal, excellent onion kulcha, spicy lamb vindaloo, and Aloo Gobhi (my favorite dish.) John really loved his mango lassi. We're planning to go back very soon.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Nancy Berry

      Yay, Nancy! Please use the "edit" button and don't leave us in suspense. :)

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        The internet went down in the middle of my reply. It's up now and my reply is complete.

        1. re: Nancy Berry

          Glad you're back online and thank you! Do you mind sharing how much your repast for two cost?

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Before tip the bill was about 35.00. That also included a Coke and an order of basmati rice.

      1. I've been in twice and had really nice meals each time. The standouts we've had so far are the tandoori fish (coriander encrusted), the karahi chicken, and the tandoori chop (lamb). The curries and paneer dishes have all been good and the lamb dishes have never been gamey. We weren't that into the seekh kebab on our first visit, but it looked fantastic on someone else's table on our second visit.

        Nancy's recommendation for the mango lassi is a very good one--- it's not too heavy, a statment that's also applies to the food here in general.

        The servers are very nice and work their butts off. But there's only so much they can do in that small and busy a space, so be prepared to wait a bit, either to be seated or to order. It's no bother though---- it's cramped enough that you'll probably strike up a conversation with someone at the next table about what to order. Plus, where else can you watch a Bollywood movie while enjoying some excellent complimentary chai?

        1. We went last night and had a great meal. Service was friendly but slow (although that's what I expected, having been a frequent visitor in the Tenderloin Lahore Karahi days).

          Favorites were lamb vindaloo (spicy!), matar paneer and garlic naan. In the past I've loved the tandoori fish, but pieces of the fish last night were a little muddy tasting. The prices make this feel like a luxurious feast for nothing--we had two drinks (chai and lassi) and a ton of food for less than $30.

          1. I went to Lahore Karahi in the TL about a year ago, was very disappointed and couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. I believe the same guy was running it then.

            My experience with Indian and Pakistani food in SF is that since the TL Pakistani boom there's some very good food (prior to that, not so much).

            My experience, to put it rudely, is that people in SF don't know what they're talking about: The top ratings that were ever given to the utterly crappy Indian Oven and Shalimar (one of the TL places), are utterly perplexing. So too with Lahore Karahi. I'm willing to give Guddu a try though.

            5 Replies
            1. re: davidg1

              Guddu sold Lahore Karahi almost two years ago.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Ok, so maybe it wasn't him. I look forward to trying his new place.

                1. re: davidg1

                  I had just 2 items, dal masala and the tandoori fish everyone raves about. The dal was really excellent.

                  As for the fish, which was tilapia they said, it was good but disappointing given what's been written. I really don't understand what the fuss is about. It didn't seem to me that it had been marinated in the slightest, and it was a little dry. It was much better dunked in the delicious dal, though. And expensive (by Pakistani restaurant standards) at $13.99 for about 8 or10 bite-size pieces. Enough for one, but not to share.

                  My lunch for one, and there certainly wouldn't have been enough for 2, cost me $24 (with no rice or bread or drink). I didn't feel like I got my money's worth.

                  I might go back for the dal and to try some other things.

                  1. re: davidg1

                    I, too, tried the fish and it was tough, way undercooked, not much flavor. I believe he used sea bass in his previous place, maybe I don't like tilapia.

                    I do love his sauce in the chicken tikka masala but the amount of chicken was pretty skimpy. Breads were divine.
                    If you like wine, you can byob and that eases the price of the meal.

                    I don't think it will ever be possible to get meal here in a reasonable amount of time.

              2. re: davidg1

                >My experience, to put it rudely, is that people
                >in SF don't know what they're talking
                >
                yes, unfortunately there is an element of this.

                i think the only serious evaluation criteria for most SFBA indian restos is "how does it rate in the SFBA indian resto population" or "how does it correspond to other $20-$25 meals" ... not "is it a good example of south/north indian cooking".

                the quality distribution of indian restos in the bay area is definitely not representative ... although in fairness, they are clustered both in execution and aspiration (there arent really high end places .. consider the range of italian places from spaghetti factory to michelin starred).

                it would be eye opening if a "real indian chef" opened up a place here ... like a "Indian Dhobi" along the lines of jai yun/chinese laundy.

                that being said, there are a few items i have had here which i feel were quite good: some milk-based sweets, some chaat. there are also some other dishes i've had here which i thought were pretty good but not dishes where i am well-qualified to judge quality as they are from indian sub-cuisines i am not too familiar with (like say NIHARI, HALEEM etc).

                have you tried any of the indian places in/around NYC?
                i may have had the best lamb chop of my life at a place in CURRY HILL recently (a place a bit fancier than most local cheap indian places, but still a place nyc food people agreed nobody would have put at the top of the heap).

                for entertainment purposes, you may wish to see this thread:
                chowhound.chow.com/topics/911606

                ETA:
                i never got around to trying some of the high end places like JUNOON or MANTRA. yes, DOSA (~$50/person) is better than the ~$15 south indian cafes on ECR). I liked some of the stuff at GAJALEE but again not a sub-cuisine I am familar with, so my sampling would be biased.

              3. I'm just going to add a few words about my opinion on Indian food here, having grown up eating a ton of Indian and Pakistani food, mostly either the traditional Moghul restaurant cuisine and its multiple "fusions" with Bangladeshi and Punjabi food, and Pakistani food, of course, plus a liberal sprinkling of South Indian food.

                Unfortunately in SF, even if you find a good place, the large number and high turnover of cooks in the kitchen makes it hard to maintain consistency. And a lot of the people cooking don't take any pride in their food or have any cooking ability. I don't know about New York, but the situation here is very unlike the UK, to where for many years any Bangladeshi man with cooking ability would emigrate. Plus of course vastly larger numbers of immigrants from the sub-continent. The result was a critical mass that probably doesn't exist anywhere else outside Asia. Incuding a number of foods of murky origin having become popular (e.g. Chicken Tikka Masala, Balti) - that some believe originate in the Indian sub-continent and some think originate in the UK. (A quick reading of the respective entries in Wikipedia will disabuse anyone of the notion that, for example, Chicken Tikka Masala, is some sort of "inauthentic" British/Indian equivalent of Chop Suey).

                In any case, cooking technique and the ability to use spices well are the key aspects of cooking this food well. Any restaurant that serves up a flavorless and lazily-made daal, for example, won't cut it for me, even if there's some other dish on the menu they're able to make well.

                The best Indian food I've had here was cooked at the original hole-in-the-wall Naan n Curry location by the owner Atique (who unfortunately is also now a slumlord, according to the press). Amazing cook, though, and what a great place that was back in the day. Before NnC became a chain.

                I've had some excellent meals at both Pakwan locations, but also some crappy meals at both. Dosa is fairly good, even if a somewhat different concept. I haven't really had much good South Indian food. I've tried a few of the places on University Avenue in Berkeley.

                I don't really take too much notice of what other people write or recommend. As I've rudely said, SF doesn't have much of a tradition of Indian food, and people are ignorant of it. Let me add Vik's Chaat House to my list of awful, yet highly rated, Indian places. (Same thing as with Middle Eastern food here). Exoticism is no subsitute for quality!!

                Even asking local Pakistanis and Indians is unreliable, unless they're friends and also know good food. (Just because someone is Pakistani it doesn't mean they appreciate good food!) Everyone knows someone, and the restaurant owners love to spread rumors and diss their competitors. (Just like in the Thai community: Mention Lers Ros and hear how their entrees are all $30 and "why would you eat there?" and "their food is not good," "not real Thai food" and all sorts of other rubbish from people who have never been there but know someone that works in another Thai restaurant).

                Anyway, I'll try Guddu. Sounds like he likes to control all the cooking, which is a good start!

                24 Replies
                1. re: davidg1

                  Yes, I sometimes feel the same way about Korean food in the Bay Area (I'm Korean-American from NYC, and have similarly grown up with it), but you know what, it's all relative. I'm sure for nearly every cuisine available in the Bay Area, there is some corner of the world that is doing it much better, but I accept that when people say a place is excellent example of Cuisine X, they mean "excellent for the Bay Area." That's fine; I still want to know that too.

                  People sometimes say Fremont is where to go for Indian, though I don't know anything about Fremont's scene.

                  1. re: dunstable

                    I agree with you, up to a point. Just because the general standard of a type of food in a region may be low, however, that doesn't preclude there being some great places among them.

                    That's the case with Middle Eastern food, which is generally awful in SF. But there's one place that really knows what it's doing that's up there with the best anywhere. Same with Thai food (there's more than one that's good, but the general standard is quite low).

                    1. re: davidg1

                      What is the "one Middle Eastern place"?

                        1. re: davidg1

                          false; while i wouldnt' say SF has amazing middle eastern food per se, arabian nights and palmyra are both as good as, if not better than old jerusalem (on certain items). and while it's a bit more casual, sunrise deli is still excellent, albeit more of a limited menu.

                          sadly, the hookah ban also resulted in us losing two deliciosu middle esatern restaurants; kan zaman and ziryab (the latter is technically still around, but it's gone more upscale, and from what i've heard, is not as good).

                          1. re: vulber

                            Sorry, but while Sunrise has good falafel balls, everything else I've had there (hummus, baba ganoush, salads) falls into the usual garbage middle eastern category. These guys wouldn't last a second in New Jersey or Michigan, let alone in the Middle East. Anyone (like Palmyra, Sunrise, all the Ali Babas and Aladdin's Caves etc) that can't be bothered to make decent hummus or who serves those thin cheap cardboard-like pittas that fall apart at the seams, is not worth even looking at. If you think Sunrise is good, I can't trust your judgement on this. Sorry but we'll have to agree to disagree.

                            I'll admit that I haven't tried Arabian Nights (put off by the cheesy name), but I do know they bake their own pitta, which is a good sign.

                            1. re: davidg1

                              i haven't been to sunrise in a while, so maybe it's gone downhill.

                              while baking their own pita would be nice, i'm not going to hold it against palmyra. i like palmyra because it's the only actual syrian restaurant in SF (vs. most other places being either palestinian or lebanese), and my family is half-syrian, so it tastes like what i grew up with. it's home-cooking. my grandmother or great-grandmother didn't bake their own bread either (on that note, i've heard their falafel isn't great, but falafel isn't really home-cooking either, so that doesn't surprise me). they took over a former small casual burger place, so it's not like they can just throw in a bread oven.

                              it took me a while to get past the kitschy name/decor at arabian nights, but once you do, it's quite excellent. prices are a bit high, but ambience is nice.

                              1. re: vulber

                                Baking their own pita is not necessary. But the good fluffy kind is available in stores everywhere. There's no excuse for selling the same horrible old cardboard.

                                I will try Arabian Nights.

                  2. re: davidg1

                    Gajalee, Chaat Bhavan in Fremont, Mumbai Chowk in Newark, and Anjappar Chettinad in Milpitas draw mostly Indian customers.

                    I don't know of an equivalent Pakistani place.

                    Where was the original Naan n Curry? That's what, 15 years ago?

                      1. re: osho

                        When I went to the Fremont Shalimar most of the customers were not Pakistani or Indian. It's good, cheap, and a great place to have lunch if you get jury duty across the street, but pretty average for that kind of place.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          I've been there over too many times and pretty much everyone was Pakistani.

                          Some dishes are really outstanding at the Fremont location - nihari, haleem and the tandoori chicken.

                      2. re: Robert Lauriston

                        >Gajalee ... draw mostly Indian customers.
                        >
                        do you just make this stuff up?

                        re: BoI
                        >The Berkeley location just reopened yesterday,
                        >according to a friend.
                        >
                        I did not know that.

                        1. re: psb

                          You don't notice when you go to a Chinese restaurant that's full of Chinese people or an Indian restaurant that's full of Indians?

                          When I went to Gajalee, more than half the diners were Indian. Anjappar Chettinad, we were literally the only customers who were not.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            >You don't notice when you go to a Chinese restaurant
                            >that's full of Chinese people or an Indian restaurant
                            >that's full of Indians?
                            >
                            Yes, I am highly aware of/interested in my racial/ethnic surroundings.
                            For example, I was just commenting the Chinese:PSB ratio at HAKKA RICHMOND RESTAURANT was 52:1 just the other day. There were literally no other people there until the rest of my party arrived (which consisted of White People and Bengalis).

                            However in my experience GAJALEE has more or less the demographics one would expect at Valencia and 16th ... I'd call it "weakly typed" rather than "strongly typed".
                            Quite possibly the crowds you get vary between 8pm Fri night and 5pm Sun nite.

                            I've gone to some south bay places at odd hours and have encountered 100% desis. That was not the case for GAJALEE in my experience.

                              1. re: sydthekyd

                                Public Security Bureau ... everyone there was on their best behavior, let me tell you.

                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_s...

                              2. re: psb

                                I went to Gajalee at 8pm on Friday and the majority of customers were Indian, which I assume is why the food didn't seem at all Americanized.

                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/840506

                        2. re: davidg1

                          Look forward to your comments on GdK. I tried it in late December, for a solo lunch. The food was good, but I enjoy, for example, Vik's more (I know, I know...) and in my opinion it did not live up to the hype. I ordered "mild" as a test (my SO, thankfully absent that day, has a lower spice tolerance) and it was between "medium" and "hot" in my range, which I think is pretty high. Service was hopeless. Given that it's tiny and out of the way, I doubt it'll be in my regular rotation, but I might go back if I'm in the area.

                          1. re: davidg1

                            >Anyway, I'll try Guddu. Sounds like he likes to
                            >control all the cooking, which is a good start!
                            >
                            i agree with pretty much everything you say ... and indeed have more or less said all of it myself over the years on various chowhound threads [including lots of discussions on eng vs bayarea indian immigration].

                            i will bet you will not like GdK, but i will also be interested to hear your opinion.

                            i agree a significant part of the issue isnt talent but lack of care/quality control (especially with chaat ... which is largely assemblage and quality control. Vik's isnt horrible but to treat it as singular is ... weird. same for the late Breads of India).

                            as mr. ragde writes below:
                            >I doubt it'll be in my regular rotation
                            >but I might go back if I'm in the area.
                            >
                            that's the niche it fills ... feeling like something heavy/spicy, budget about $15-$25, in the area.

                            it is definitely NOT an example of superb indian north indian cooking, "worth a special trip" etc.

                            service is a little loopy, but good natured and i dont mind.
                            i kinda enjoy the horrible free tea ... i reminds me a bit of "india rails tea".

                            GdK is better than some of the consistently awful places (late telegraph nann and curry, the place on the northwest corner of o'farrell & jones (the place that was not pakwan/shalimar/N&C).

                            a friend of mine from TX was raving about GdK and frankly my thought was this is a mirror image of us talking about BBQ ... places i thought had decent rib/brisket she rated "meh"/edible.

                            1. re: psb

                              Breads of India is still around. I think they're still working on reopening the original Berkeley location.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                The Berkeley location just reopened yesterday, according to a friend.

                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                  I noticed the lights were all on when we drove by Breads of India Monday night, but there were no customers inside at 6:00p.

                              2. re: psb

                                Oh, man, that tea. I served myself a paper cup full, had a sip, then took it to the bathroom and poured it down the sink.

                            2. The original Naan n Curry was on O'Farrell, at Jones. Yeah, maybe 12 years ago.

                              Hot as hell inside, open kitchen in the front, pots and pans banging, qawwali music blaring, open till like 3am or something. And the young, long-haired owner/chef serving up the best food ever.

                              One time years later I was craving Indian food and went into the big N n C they opened later further down O'Farrell, as I had done a number of times. This time, though, the food was unusually excellent. I told them this when I went to pay, and lo and behold there was Atique in the kitchen training the cooks

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: davidg1

                                not much has changed at the one at o'farrell, still open until 4am, still is an indian dance club from 2am-4am. it's still quite delicious if you order right (their keema naan is among the best i've had), but even by indian restaurant standards, the cleanliness is atrocious (orders falling on the floor being covered up with a carpet)

                                1. re: vulber

                                  I don't think the food comes anywhere close, even if some dishes can be good.

                              2. I was a fan of Lahore in 2007-08 and am super excited to try GDK this week with some friends. Then again, I don't know much about "authentic" Indian food and so long as the naan is warm and fluffy and I don't burn my tongue off with spiciness, I will probably think this place is great.

                                So I'm coming in with the expectation that this is gentrified good Indian/PK food and that I'll be happy with it... I can understand the arguments against it though. I certainly have my fair share of things to say about some of the Chinese places that are recommended on this board as been too white-washed, but sometimes I'm in the mood for that!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: bobabear

                                  >So I'm coming in with the expectation that this is
                                  >gentrified good Indian/PK food and
                                  >
                                  DOSA is gentrified.

                                  GDK is cheap (i mean than in a neutral way, not a dismissive way. it is a bit sloppy tho, and i do mean that in a slightly neg way)

                                  1. re: bobabear

                                    GdK is not whitewashed. The new location is miles ahead of the old one, thank god for that.