Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sizzling Tandoor - Santa Rosa

Sizzling Tandoor has been on Mendocino Avenue in downtown Santa Rosa for many years. I read that recently someone new began running it and that on Wednesday and Saturday they offered South Indian cuisine. It has been many years since I have eaten there since we've had other Indian restaurants pop up in town -- one being a fast food type place right near the junior college that is much more convenient and doesn't require service and waiting for food (which doesn't work well with our son). But Shane was out so we headed to Sizzling Tandoor on the spur of the moment on an early Saturday evening.

There were only a few occupied tables. It was quiet unlike so many restaurants these days. There are Indian artifacts hung on the walls. The lights are a bit bright but environmentally correct flourescent bulbs.

The menu is extensive. My husband asked if I'd like samosas or pakora for an appetizer. And since I know that the pakora is usually deep fried, I picked samosa. And yummy samosa they were with a delicious potato and pea filling. A small dish with three chutneys (a sweet dark one, green cilantro and then a yellow lentil) arrived with the samosa. I only ate half of mine, anticipating other delicious food to come.

I ordered Masala Dosa which is like a big crispy crepe filled with potatoes and onions. It came with a coconut chutney and a bowl of lentil and vegetable soup (which seemed to be prepared in the pressure cooker because it was so hot that it took more than 10 minutes before the temperature was tolerable for my mouth). The dosa was delicious and filling. It had some tantalizing spices and also little bits of something that I thought were possibly lentils. I had to ask and a man who seemed like the owner and/or chef told me that they are roasted split dahl or lentils. He also showed me some tiny black mustard seeds. I ended up taking about half my dish home, even though my husband Rick ate some, and wanted more.

He ordered Chicken Vindaloo and a dish of rice. He said that his dish was very spicy and there wasn't enough chicken but it was really tasty. He also brought food home.

We were both too stuffed to eat dessert. I couldn't even think about it. The meal cost about $40 (including tip) but we used our Sonoma Express so it was less. On a scale of 1 to 10 forks, Sizzling Tandoor rates at least an 8. I will definitely go back -- soon, I hope.

1 comment:

Vinay said...

It's Really A Culinary Nirvana !
Anyone who's traveled to London over the past couple of decades has noticed that the Indian restaurants there offer intriguing flavors and great value to the British public. Sort of what Mexican food offers to Americans.

So strongly have the British taken to Indian food that "tikka masala" is now the No. 1, most-loved, and most often made dish in that country -- a mixture of chicken chunks stirred with Indian spices in a gravy-like sauce. And while most people think that "tikka masala" is a traditional Indian dish, it is, in fact, a creation made in Britain.

You'll find two kinds of tikka masala -- chicken and lamb -- at Sizzling Tandoor, along with over 100 other appetizers, soups, salads, raitas, tandoor oven specialties, biryanis, breads and desserts, including 35 chicken, lamb, seafood and vegetarian curries from different regions of India.

Dinner began with the Assorted Indian Snacks ($7.95; 5 stars). You may be wondering about the relationship of Turkish kebap to the Hindi word kabab. The words have a common heritage and the technique of roasting marinated meat on skewers drifted southeast from Turkey, passing through Arabic lands and Persia (now Iran) before reaching India centuries ago. Here minced lamb, juicy chicken, spicy shrimp, and tender salmon kababs are cooked in the hot tandoor oven, then taken off the skewers and served on a plate. This is a yummy treat for two people.