Pakwan was not the first choice for dinner this particular night.  Lahore Karahi, across the street, was too packed with Academy of Art University students for Steve and I to get a table, so we wandered over to Pakwan. 

Pakwan is a typical San Francisco sort of fast food Indian place; order at the counter, pick up your own plates and utensils, grab a carafe of water from the fridge, pay on your way out.  I think I somehow ended up doing the ordering, which is probably why we ended up with so so much food.  I like to try to get a kind of balanced meal, and I also like naan AND rice so I usually end up getting pretty out of control if I’m ordering for less than three people.

These three dishes

plus this massive pile of rice

and a naan each

it’s just too much.  Especially when your dinner date is rice-phobic (too many carbs).  I ended up eating pretty much that entire plate of rice.  Plus the naan, plus my share of the main dishes.  When we left I felt like I had a rock in my stomach.  Ugh. 

But let’s talk about the food a little bit.  I ordered the things on the menu that I hadn’t encountered before, like mirch salan

roasted peppers in a ground nut curry sauce.  It was pretty delicious, the peppers were mild and the whole thing was infused with a roasty toasty pepper flavor.  It looks oily in that photo, but it was more creamy than anything else, it didn’t leave a greasy feeling in my mouth. 

I had also never had or heard of chicken makhanwala, so I had to order that

also pretty tasty, it was like a less creamy, more tomato-ey chicken tikka masala. 

I tried to get a good picture of the saag gosht but it was difficult because it was really dark and pretty unattractive looking in person, and it turned up even less appealing in the photos.  Here’s my best effort

Usually saag gosht is a pretty safe bet, but this one was just kind of blah.  The lamb flavor just wasn’t there, and it was sort of bland.  We probably could have done without it, but I love me some lamb and it’s hard to pass up. 

I also ordered a mango lassi, which was pretty good.  It was more mango than yogurt, which is not what I’m used to but I liked that. 

Things got kind of weird about halfway through our dinner there, suddenly the people working there were running in and out of the restaurant, for a while we were the only people in the place; diners, employees or otherwise.  The woman who we had ordered from ended up leaving and was replaced at the counter by a young guy, who, as I got up to pay, said “Goodbye, thank you very much.”  I explained to him that I hadn’t paid yet and he said, “Oh, you could have just left.”  Too bad, I missed my chance to dine and dash! 


501 O’Farrell

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