400 Haight Street, San Francisco
Last weekend we went to San Francisco to try the Pakistani cuisine at Rotee restaurant. Good thing we had Sam as our guide: he helped us select the traditional favorites of his native Pakistan.
First we ordered Samosas and Pekora as appetizers. The crispy Samosas were stuffed with hot potatoes and sprinkled with a mix of spices. The Pekora were made with garbanzo bean flour and stuffed with onions. A cilantro sauce and tamarind sauce accompanied the two appetizers. The Samosas were our favorite–crispy on the outside, hot on the inside…need I say more?
I ordered Lahore Karahi, which is a specialty from Sam’s hometown in Pakistan. The combination of chicken, tomatoes, onions and various spices create dish fiery enough to make my nose run. A yogurt sauce helped temper the heat.
Rotee, Pakistani flatbread, is traditionally broken piece by piece and dipped in the dish. Sam’s rating: above average.
Sam ordered chicken Tikka Masala, which was milder compared to the other dishes–and useful for tempering the heat of the other dishes. Not as flavorful as in the land from which it hails, Sam questioned its authenticity.
My mom, ever the lamb-lover, ordered lamb chops. While beautifully presented with frills of onion garnish, the lamb chops were salty and over-seasoned. Future blog mission: find good lamb chops.
My dad ordered Palak Chicken. Palak means spinach in Urdu, so spinach was the main ingredient. If you are a fan of Popeye the Sailorman, then this dish is for you.
Our host gave us a sachet of Tulsi, a sort of after-meal palate cleanser composed of sandalwood pieces and anise, which was reminiscent of black licorice.
Overall, we gave it 3 out of 5 stars. While most of the food tasted good, the quality was not up to par. The lamb was a disappointment, and the Tikka Masala lacked depth, but the Lahore Karahi was rich with tomatoes and spices. And we must not forget the Rotee (above average) and the hot, crispy Samosas. If you find yourself wandering around Lower Haight looking for a place to eat, check out Rotee for yourself.