Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Namaste Shangri-La

Following the always-excellent advice of Feathers, I finally got to Namaste Shangri-La restaurant for lunch today!

Why it took so long to get there is a lengthy and tedious story - I work a block away, and since getting the recommendation I have been trying to get over there - but finally managed it!

Namaste is tucked into a little strip mall on the corner of Lake Otis and Tudor - not much help, I know, since there are strip malls on three of the four corners of that intersection. This is the strip mall that does not have the Starbucks or the Golden Donuts shops.

Anyway. Namaste Shangri-La is a lovely place with sunny yellow walls and a discreet bit of appropriate decor. The tables are beautiful - maroon tablecloths protected by glass table tops. About which let me say a word. Many places use these things that really shouldn't. I know it lets you use a tablecloth which you then don't have to wash with every diner. But so many places let their glass tops get all chipped and nasty looking, besides which if you don't clean that glass well, it really, really shows up. I'm not fussy personally, so I don't much care unless it's really grievous, but still. Namaste Shangri-La is not one of those places. This tabletop was truly clean enough to... well, you know how that goes. Also, each shimmering tabletop had a small vase of carnations on it that really gave it a nice touch.

I was, sadly, not there with Mr. EA but instead with a friend from work. However, now that Mr. EA has heard how good it is, you can bet we will be going there together soon. My friend is a long-time devotee of Yak and Yeti, so she was also excited to hear that there was a good source of Indian/Tibetan food within easy lunchtime striking distance of our office. She ordered the Chicken Curry lunchtime special, and I got the Saag Paneer lunch. The proprietor asked how hot we wanted our dishes - my friend said mild, and I, forgetting the Golden Gate heat level debacle, said hot. We also got garlic naan, which was even better than regular naan, though I would not previously have believed such a thing was possible. It was crispy on the bottom and soft on the top, and the topping had a good mix of cilantro and minced fresh garlic. Mmmmmmmm!

The lunches came with a salad, which consisted of shredded carrots and celery and onion in a lightly tangy dressing; steamed rice, and daal. Our entrees were delicious, as were all the sides! Although I had said "hot" it was still humanly edible. There was a bit of heat there, make no mistake, but it was nowhere near as damaging as when you say "hot" at other nearby places. Saag Paneer is cubes of fresh mild cheese (paneer) in a spinach-based sauce. Feathers my fellow sauce-hound, if you have not tried this dish, I highly recommend it. There is a reasonable amount of paneer in there, to be sure. But it is basically a good sized bowl of sauce. And it is good sauce. The main flavor is spinach, but there is a lot going on there. I think there was some curry and/or cumin, a little tangyness that might have been yogurt. Mmmmmmm! I believe it will require a lot more analysis!
I did try my friend's chicken curry, but it was a polite, friend's-plate sized bite, not the full-fledged plate ravaging that I feel free to indulge in when it is Mr EA's plate I am pillaging. So all I can really say is that my bite was quite good, but it too requires further analysis.
Namste Shangri-La is a great place - clean, pleasant, and well run. Their menu is not encyclopedic, but there is a good variety of vegetarian and non-veg entrees, appetizers and soups. Not to mention some interesting-looking desserts that I intend to try as soon as I can lure Mr EA in there.
Go there, you'll be glad you did!

1 comment:

Feathers said...

You went! Yay! I'm so glad you liked it!

I was ridiculously thrilled to read the aside addressed to 'fellow sauce-hound' Feathers. =D I will *have* to get that saucy paneer the next time we get to go! Your description of a cheesy, curry-ish sort of sauce made my mouth water.

Have you been to any recommendable eateries with outdoor seating lately, by any chance? Now that it's getting so much more warm and sunny, I'm finding I am loathe to go inside to eat when it's so wonderful lazing in the sun, particularly when the sun is getting close to setting and the sky is taking on that gorgeous pink-orange blood-red grapefruit-y color... *swoon*

I'm a sucker for sunshine. =)