In our continuing quest for Indian food in San Francisco, we discovered Kasa Indian Eatery. Kasa was an affordable Indian homestyle that is now bookmarked as a place to go back to if I'm ever again in that area of SF.
Take this place: we'd come off of a Sunday hike to Mount Davidson Park and were looking for an Indian restaurant nearby that was open on Sunday's before 5 PM. This place is on a corner in the Castro on 18th and Noe that is a little like a cafeteria and an Indian Bistro.
You get two main choices: a wrap called a Kati Roll, which is a filled (with one of the choices below plus marinated onions and chutney) roti rolled like a burrito for a inexpensive $4.50 each (order 2 or 3 for a meal) AND/OR what we had which was a Thali (A Combination Plate).
For about $11, you get an authentic Indian home-style round and sectioned stainless steel tray that holds many wondrous things: first, two choices of the following selection:
Chicken Tikka Masala
or one of the Daily Veggie Specials (like today's Saag Paneer)
Also with that you get a Daal (lentil) with basmati rice, a large handmade wheat roti, a veggie salad (that is to plotz for), two chutney's (including a cilantro one) and a large spoonful of raita (yogurt).
This is a lot of very good food, served up by friendly and efficient people behind a counter. You then can order drinks or a mango lassi ($3), and find your seat in this small restaurant.
We three did the Thali with:
Chicken Tikka Masala
And we all agreed how real the food tasted (locally sourced or naturally raised BTW) and how much great food you can get for relatively little in SF. The daal was spicy as was the Karahi Paneer, but the perfect tempering of the raita and the fresh flavors and crunch of the fresh salad tempered this spice. With all the fresh, different textures and flavors that were served on a single platter, we found this a welcome change from the many standard Indian buffets we've had in our past, where we would tend to stick only with "what we knew".
The Chicken Tikka Masala was meaty with a sauce that did not come with that super-creamy opaque sauce, which allowed you to better taste the moist, grilled nature of the chicken. So many other Tikka Masala cream sauces try to cover up cubes of chicken that had gone dry too many hours ago, but this was done in small batches and the result was simply excellent.
Saag Paneer was really good and generous with their Paneer. Their large roti was really tasty and felt homemade rather than commercial.
The service tends to remain behind the counter and you are obligated to clear your own table and set your used dishes in a slot under a counter near the drink machine.
But this rather small place is clean, fast, and delicious; not much more to ask for in the City. We will definitely return.
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