Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Adventures in San Fran: Pho & Indian-Mexican

We tried to eat on the run as much as we could while in San Francisco, but we had to have a few table service meals when we needed a break. Most of the time, we'd stop in at one of the many Vietnamese places nearby. I had great pork noodles at Pagolac and a huge bowl of hot pho at Pho 2000. But the best meal we had by FAR was at Avatar's restaurant in Sausalito.

After we hiked an amazing few miles through the redwood forest at Muir Woods, we desperately needed some food and a few minutes to sit. Sausalito was the closest town between the forest and San Fran, so I did a quick search on Yelp for a low-key but delicious lunch. I felt a little skeptical going to an unassuming place called Avatar's restaurant in the middle of a business area, but it was fantastic. The food was great, it came out quickly, the service was amazing. I felt like we were in there for the shortest and most invigorating 15 minutes ever.

The menu here is based on Indian cuisine, but hops all over the globe. There's curries and samosas, of course, but also Italian pastas and Jamaican jerk chicken, all cooked with Indian inspiration. You wouldn't think that fusion would work well in a cafe-like restaurant, but they surprised both of us.

We started with two complimentary dishes: a spicy papadum, which is like a crispy flatbread, and buttery naan with three dipping sauces: cinnamon apples, carrots and a green sauce. All were surprisingly tasty.

Rob had the ravioli dish called Rose Mango Dreams. The ravioli are stuffed with porcini mushrooms, spinach and ricotta cheese and topped with a mango Alfredo sauce. This dish was amazingly rich and decadent, a great blend of sweet and salty and cheesy. It's too bad there were only four raviolis, but they were definitely filling.

I had the crab "Punjabi Enchiladas," even though Indian enchiladas seemed extremely bizarre (and were RAVED about on Yelp!). As soon as I ordered them, the waiter (owner?) promised me it would be the "best thing you've ever tasted." Quite a tall order. But it really was one an amazing, interesting, well-balanced and extremely tasty dish (best thing EVER?... pushing it). The crab was tender. The enchiladas were topped with lots of cheddar and jack cheeses. The sauces on top were swirled beautifully -- homemade curried enchilada sauce, yogurt and tamarind sauce. The basmati rice with green peas was absolutely perfect. I gobbled it up in maybe three minutes flat.

When I used to hear the word Sausalito, I (of course) thought of the cookies. Now, my mouth waters with the memory of our perfect post-Redwood Indian fusion lunch.

Avatar's Restaurant
2656 Bridgeway Blvd
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 332-8083

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