Lahore Karahi

A Note:  I know it’s been a long time.  We can talk about it later.  I am planning on writing some more bits about restaurants for you, but for now I found this blog post I wrote last year that for some reason was never published…I think I was arguing with my editor (Steve) over some wording in the first paragraph.  Anyway, enjoy! 

-Mel

I hate waiting to eat, which is why it took me so long to make it to Lahore Karahi. This place is lousy with Academy of Art junior hipsters; they pack the joint, spilling out into the sidewalk in a smoky cluster as they wait to get in.  This night we lingered in the tiny vestibule up front for just a short while before we were seated.  The unavoidable wait here can be attributed to a combination of it’s celebrated status

and it’s tiny cramped dining space.

We had the good fortune of getting a table in a remote corner of the room where we weren’t bumping anyone’s chair, and vice versa.  We were seated next to a mail slot, in case we happened to receive any correspondence during our meal.

Everything I read and heard about Lahore Karahi before my visit said that one MUST order the tandoori fish.  So we did, along with another of the “Tandoori Delicacies” (as they’re classified on the menu); the lamb boti.  They were served together on a hot iron platter with a scattering of bright green lettuce and sliced onions.  Both meaty morsels in our improvised surf and turf were succulent and subtly spiced.  The crunchy lettuce and onions provided a nice contrast in texture, temperature and flavor.  It was pretty well everything I’d hoped for.

We also ordered our favorite compromise veggie dish, saag paneer.  This saag paneer was lovely; it was creamy without having a prominent dairy flavor, the grassiness of the spinach was upfront.  Firm chunks of slightly salty paneer hit the “just right” texture between crumbly and silky.  And of course, the best part of blogging about saag paneer is the always appetizing photo I get to post of it.

Yum.  If anyone knows how to photograph saag paneer in a way that makes it look palatable, let me know please.

To go alongside our main attractions we had two types of naan; onion and Afghani.  They were both massive sheets of bread.  The onion was very good, much better than our last attempt at it.  The Afghani we ordered as a lark, and it was good, but a bit much.  It’s described as naan stuffed with cheese, raisins and cherries, and what you get is a naan stuffed with a very bland cheese and the bright red and green candied fruits you see in fruitcakes and the like.  It is intensely sweet.  I couldn’t come close to finishing my half of this one.  It would be more appropriate to split between, say, six or so people instead of two.

Surprisingly, Lahore Karahi lived up to my expectations.  I’ve been hearing about how great it is for years, first from a couple on the bus who mistook me for a tourist as I was wondering with my companion where to have lunch.  They told me I HAD to go to Lahore Karahi, it was the best restaurant in the city.  Since then I’ve heard it referred to as one of the best places for Pakistani food more than a few times.  So of course I was expecting it to stink.  I was proven wrong by the friendly people running this surprisingly cozy restaurant.  I will definitely be back…as soon as I figure out when their off time is…

Lahore Karahi

612 O’Farrell

http://www.lahorekarahisanfrancisco.com/

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