They say in India you can buy a train ticket scheduled to leave within 2 hours, go back to the hotel, shower, take a nap, walk around, come back to the train station the next day, and it’s just in time for the train to arrive. I haven’t been to India to testify that story, but I’ve been at Berkeley, and rest assured, it is similar. Waiting for the city bus and the school bus here is good practice for patience. I used to check the time, calculate how many minutes I have to walk from home to the bus stop, how many minutes until the bus arrives, how many minutes until I’m officially late for class. I do none of those now. I’m a learned man. Waiting for the buses here is like waiting for a fickle lover to get ready, it can be 10 minutes, or 30 minutes, or never. Don’t blame it on bad traffic. There are no cows wandering among cars, and the goats are all seasoned and stewed. Yep, the goats are ready to serve at your favorite local Indian eatery.
It isn’t on the permanent menu, but on the white board near the cashier, not far from the sign “We accept credit, but we prefer payment in cash”. I prefer credit, but that’s not the norm at Berkeley.
They say this place is voted the best Indian restaurant in town. That must be good, because there just might be more Indian restaurants and Indian shops than Indian residents here at Berkeley. And by Indian they mean the combination of Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, and others in South Asia. Food blurs the line of nationality and brings together
customers people. So is this place actually that good? I’ve tried food from curry land before, manufactured, home cooked, and restaurant made, and they didn’t have that kick to make me searching for more. But when friends suggest, you ought to comply. And when friends say goat biryani is spicy, you ought to listen. The first few spoons are defying. Supertender goat, sweet dates, inviting colors. I went on, my eyes shed tears. Maybe I’m just lame, maybe the house biryanis are crushed bits of burning coal, who knows.
Compared to the goat biryani, the chicken tikka masala (pictured) is heaven’s candy land. The sauce is coconuty and soothing, making the best dip for the best naan. I don’t know if all their dishes are the best in town, but I’m sure no naan can beat this naan. It’s so good it made me buy naan at the grocery’s only to my disappointment at the difference. The basmati rice is also cooked to excellence of sweet simplicity. If I come back, I will just order a bunch of naan and rice, they’re only a dollar each. They’re the kicks I’ve been looking for.
2011 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704
Price: 2 chicken tikka masala + 1 naan + 1 rice = $15.37