A touch of Delhi in Albany

Delhi Diner dining room

We swung by to pick up George before walking down to lunch and saw his new solar panels, which have not yet been turned on due to impending inspections that must happen first. But when they are up and running, George predicts he’ll save a bundle. I think we’ll probably go that route soon too….But this is a post about lunch, isn’t it?

If a friend told you she was taking you to Delhi Diner and you didn’t see it written, you might think you were going to a casual place to pick up a pastrami sandwich and some potato salad. But of course this Delhi is Indian, so no pastrami awaits you there.

The dining room itself is lovely. The textured paint job is the same as when the restaurant featured wood-fired pizza, which was not even the most recent iteration of 1373 Solano Avenue before it became Delhi Diner.

sev puri
sev puri (served cold)

The first appetizer listed was sev puri, and the menu insisted this was a “must try.” So we did. It was tasty enough, but it was a bit of a shock. When I hear “crisps stuffed with chickpeas and potatoes,” I think hot. I don’t know why exactly—maybe it’s the “crisp” part—but I think it would have been prudent to warn us that it was served cold.

The next shock really wasn’t the restaurant’s fault at all. Dave saw an unusual beverage on the menu and was feeling adventurous. He probably should have inquired further. The jaljeera claimed to be a “flavorful” drink with mint, cilantro, pepper, and spices. It did look festive, but flavorful? Not unless you think of peppery ocean water as flavorful. It could have been in The Phantom Tollbooth—Division Drink, perhaps, named thus because the more you drink, the thirstier you get. None of us liked it one bit. Well, George fished out one of the little popped lentils in the drink and declared it edible. But it remained on the table with little danger of being consumed even if no other liquid were available. Luckily, our waitress never let our glasses stay empty for long.

Delhi Diner jaljeera
Beautiful, but beware!
chicken tikka kabab
chicken tikka kabab

When ordering our entrees, we were asked what degree of spiciness we preferred, which I appreciated. My medium was only mildly spicy, but George’s hot did have some heat. I had the chicken tikka kabab, which was served on some lovely aromatic basmati rice, with a small cup of delicious lentils, some so-so mint sauce, and the best damn naan I’ve ever tasted. It was all cooked fresh and served quickly. My chicken was a tad dry and a tiny bit too salty, but I would have been happy to pig out on their naan. Actually, I did pig out on the naan. They were also very generous with the amount of naan, which came with our lunches at no extra charge. George and Dave both liked the Rogan Josh (doesn’t that sound like the name of a singer/songwriter?)  better than the lamb curry. I dipped some naan into both sauces and agree.

So Delhi Diner is not as cheap as House of Curries and not as amazing as Ajanta, but the food was mostly good, and it is reasonably priced. Our waitress was very attentive, our food arrived quickly, the atmosphere was quite nice, and the bathroom was clean. I would go back just for the naan and lentils…

Their website is www.delhidiner.net and their phone number is 510 528-5000.

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