CONFESSIONS OF A                                                                  
     
RESTAURANT WHORE
A San Francisco Girl's Down and Dirty Adventures in the Culinary Playground

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Amber-ific (Amber India -- Mountain View, CA)

Jon and I have been together nine years. And until last Friday, I don't think we'd ever eaten Indian food together. How lame is that? I've been alone or with friends and he...well, he went once with some friends while I was out of town and was so horrified by the raisins in his dish that he's had nightmares about it for five years.

I trapped him into trying Amber India because:

a) It was one of the only restaurants on the San Francisco Chronicle's Top 100 list we hadn't yet been to.

b) He now works in Mountain View and we were attending a screening of "The Incredibles" on the company's dime later that evening. We needed to eat somewhere first.

c) I was driving.

Now Amber India has been touted as the best Indian restaurant in the bay area -- if I was ever going to get him to eat Indian food, now was my chance. Here's a roadblock: neither one of us likes raisins. And, unfortunately for us, they can be hidden land mines in Indian food. But I had a plan.

We pulled into the strip mall location of the restaurant (weird at first but once you are inside it's OK). Jon later told me that every muscle in his body was telling him to flee.

We sat down and Jon told me to order -- he was going to trust me (and blame me should this turn out the way he was expecting).

I told the server that we loved spicy and hated raisins. PLEASE, I urged, let us know if we order anything that has the evil element. Our server was great. We ordered Shrimp Kabobs, Butter Chicken, Vegetarian Dal, Butter Naan and some Saffron rice. No raisins, no problem.

Our favorite was the acclaimed butter chicken. And for people who think chicken is trashy and boring, that was a pretty big deal. The chicken is delish; it's all shredded in a sweet/smoky/buttery/tomato-y sauce. It was just super great. Not spicy, but very good. The Dal was spicy and I just loved it. Not quite spicy enough for me but it was still yummy. The Naan was perfect, the rice great. The shrimp were simple and good, but we were so full that we could hardly eat any of them (they came last). I wouldn't order that dish again because although it was good, it was pretty ordinary.

Jon was pleasantly surprised, ate the leftovers the next day and said he'd go back. Mission accomplished.

xoxo
Joy

"To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art."
--La Rochefoucauld

9 Comments:

Blogger Speed said...

I know this is a little outdated...was surfing ran across your Michael Mina post and canceled my Opentable reservation with them. Back to Indian food. Amber indian food is not great by any means. I know its totally taste of the beholder, and Im glad you liked their food (no worries). If you want to try 'as close to mom's kitchen' try out this place called Taj India in Sunnyvale. I am indian, my family and I only eat out at one indian restaurant and this is it. Oh this is North Indian (Like amber) if you want South Indian, that just depends what day it is, because some of those places can suck salty balls!

3/21/2005 2:08 PM  
Blogger Joy said...

Thanks for the tip -- now that Jon's not afraid anymore, I'll have to try it. I'll keep you posted.

4/08/2005 6:07 PM  
Blogger Freecia said...

This is one of the places I usually take a pass on when friends get together for dinner. I've eaten at both the Santana Row location and Mountain View but receive lackluster service (possibly even derogatory) from both. Maybe we're not ordering enough drinks. Maybe we're not "dressy" or I just look like I'm in high school. Still, I'm paying for my meal and don't like being ignored, especially since they're one of the more expensive Indian places around.

Food-wise, it is good. Maybe this could be a nice fancier date-ish dinner with drinks. The Santana Row location has modern decor with a starry fiberoptic sky.

Found your blog while looking for Hog Island Oysters :)

7/23/2005 2:19 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

i missed this inidian raisin mail which is a shame cos i just found it via my stats referral. Now, lovies, I can cook a mean indian feast and I HATE raisins. I will do one for you and your lesbian lover Fatemeh in the New year. how is that???? XXXX

11/30/2005 9:23 PM  
Blogger Joy said...

That is more than perfect, dearest Sam:)!

12/01/2005 7:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was there last night with my boyfriend, and their service and cuisine must be going downhill. Everything came out luke warm and really salty. The service was really disorganized and pretty rude. I don't doubt your opinion, but it was the worst experience I've ever had. Too bad, I'm still glad you enjoyed your's.

5/17/2006 12:12 PM  
Blogger Joy said...

Anonymous -- that's a bummer. I haven't been there in more than a year, so it's very possible that it's different than what I experienced.

5/20/2006 12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to think the butter chicken was the best indian dish I ever had. But, lately I have found that the butter chicken tastes a little ketchupy.

1/06/2007 5:45 PM  
Anonymous nirjay said...

If you want to try quality Indian Food with excellent service, try Mantra in Palo Alto. Tell Tony, that Ravi from Fremont referred you. He is a genleman!

12/08/2007 11:43 AM  

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