If you’ve been following my journey down Solano Avenue on a map, you may have noticed some fancy footwork lately.
Last week should have been my review of Sunnyside Café, but it is undergoing renovations. If I had maintained a strict order, I would have gone right next door to House of Curries last week. But we had just gotten takeout from there a few days before, so we saved it for this week and ate at 1491 Bistro last week.
This time we not only ate on the premises but invited friends. We actually had to put two tables together to seat the five of us. Because we all arrived at different times and it’s an order-at-the-counter kind of place, we ordered separately. Consequently, our dishes arrived at different times.
There is unlimited free self-serve chai, which I always sip while awaiting my food. And because they provide a refrigerator full of water pitchers, we got one for the table, which I replaced when I emptied it. One never has to wait for water at House of Curries.
Even though there are a dozen combos on the lunch menu to choose from, they let me make up my own—channa masala and chicken tikka masala, my two favorite dishes there. (Sometimes you’ve just gotta’ order what you already know is good.) The combos come with rice and naan and are quite reasonably priced. George and Catherine ordered combos too, which all came out pretty quickly. Dave and Peter chose entrées from the dinner menu, so theirs arrived later.
My lunch was yummy, as I knew it would be, given the fact that I’d had those two dishes probably a hundred times since we discovered House of Curries some years ago. Catherine dubbed her meal “ordinaire,”(en français) but noted that the sauce was good. George felt the chicken on his combo plate was a tad dry but also praised the sauce. Each of the three men had ordered a different lamb dish, so there was a lot of comparing on that front. Dave thought his tasted “liver-y.” George’s didn’t taste like liver, but he said it didn’t have much lamb flavor either. Peter’s lamb was stewed with spinach, and he declared it tender, “lamb-y,” and not at all liver-like.
The naan was delicious, soft, and fluffy, just the way it is supposed to be.
We get takeout from House of Curries all the time, so I just want to add that my daughter’s favorite dish is baingan bharta, an eggplant dish that I think is very tasty, and I don’t even like eggplant.
The bathroom was quite clean and roomy. (Side note: since the restroom was located beyond the kitchen, I got a backstage tour behind the counter. First I passed the manager’s office where a television was on low, so I couldn’t hear it. Then I passed through the kitchen, where the TV was tuned to a different station broadcasting something in Spanish. And five bicycles rested against each other at the back wall, suggesting that either the whole kitchen staff biked to work or they were running a small bike shop in the back.
We had a lovely time, and I was socializing so much that I almost forgot to ask people about their food. We discovered that even though Catherine and Peter had never met George, they knew his younger son, Dylan (who just graduated from Bard) from Black Pine Circle, where their son Daniel had attended school. It’s always a small world in Berkeley.