Hasan ibn Yusuf, ‘Allama al-Hilli 5 p.m., April 23
Urban Turban: Swinging India Hits Downtown
Was heading down 4th Avenue when I noticed something had changed. Joey’s BBQ had become Urban India (1041 4th Avenue, 619-238-8380).
This was about eight at night and I just needed a snack. Ho-kay. Why not an Indian snack?
Inside it’s big, filled with like, quality furniture, Indian art, Buddha heads, modern Indian pop on the sound system, and big screen TVs showing sports. Except the sport that you see most is, uh, cricket.
“We’re the next generation Indians,” says Jappreet Singh. He’s Sikh, wearing a black turban. He’s 30. “We’re more chill, open to ideas.”
He’s behind the counter where I’ve sat up, at the Buddha Bar.
“India’s not all tradition. It’s moving ahead at explosive speed. We’re aiming to be a sports bar, modern Indian-style.”
Wow. I see they have $9.99 lunch buffet, but that’s closed down by now. And so is happy hour (3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., daily), which looks really good. Like beers are all $2. And that includes Stone IPA, Sam Adams, Ballast Point Pale Ale, and Kingfisher, India’s #1 lager.
Good food deals too: somosas (the fried pastry stuffed with potato and peas) are $2, tandoori chicken’s $5, and chicken tikka, in the sizzling platter, is $6.
These have to be the best Indian food prices downtown. Gotta try these things.
But I’ll wait for happy hour. Or maybe the lunch buffet. Or maybe both.
Meantime I get me two somosas ($3.99), and a plate of paneer pakora – Indian-style cheese chunks with green chutney stuffed between, battered and fried. They come with a kinda poppadam, a crisp rolled Indian bread, and a sweet sauce, and more of that tangy, savory green chutney.
Just as well, because they don’t have a lot of taste in themselves.
But the combo goes great with the pint of draft Kingfisher I get ($4), and I munch them down in fifteen minutes flat, while I stare at the TV, trying to figure out this crazy game they call cricket.
For sure: I'm, coming back, for chicken tikka and other good stuff. Stay tuned.