One vegetable samosa plus rice, raita, naan, lamb curry, and that old spinach standby, saag
9235 Activity Road #111, San Diego
Business park restaurants don’t play by the same rules as other food businesses. They serve a calculated need — to provide a quick, convenient lunch to nearby professionals. They don’t worry about decorating because something about our group psychology says that a business park restaurant should feel like a no-frills cafeteria. What they do need to worry about is serving food that people will come back for. Which doesn’t have to mean exceptional fare, just a satisfying menu and a good value.
Those patio tables are worth the cost of a combo plate.
Punjabi Tandoor hits on all marks and actually does east Miramar one better with pleasant patio seating. In case the name doesn’t make it obvious, the specialty here is Indian food: tandoori, tikka masala, vindaloo, and saag. Punjabi Tandoor is actually a family of restaurants, with a of couple locations in Orange County, plus one serving Sorrento Valley and another planned for Carlsbad (5812 Van Allen Way).
The lunch menu offers combos ranging from $7.50 to $9, or $10.50 if you want to try the “everything,” stewing in steam table pans behind the glass counter beside the cash register. I didn’t have the appetite to try it all, but I did deliberate over a variety of rotating chicken, lamb, and vegetable dishes.
I went with a combo #5 consisting of one meat dish, one vegetable dish, and one vegetable samosa plus rice, raita, and naan. For the meat I looked past a trio of chicken curries rated mild, medium, and hot and went for the lamb and that old spinach standby, saag.
I know not everyone objects to Stryofoam plates, but I’m sure no one ever says, I’m glad they serve it on polystyrene! I sure didn’t, though I did appreciate the contents of the partitioned plate. The naan was warm, fresh, and in plenty supply. The cooling cucumber and yogurt of the raita refreshed what turned out to be a fairly spicy and tender take on lamb curry. The saag was about what the name suggests — wet and green, yet serviceable when eaten with the naan and a splash of curry.
For this kind of restaurant, there’s no need to go out of your way. But if you’re in Miramar or Sorrento Valley, and one of your coworkers suggests eating authentic northern Indian cuisine for lunch, this could be where you wind up. Probably a few times.