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Shalimar
532 Jones Street/O'Farrell, SF
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Pretrial hearing at High Tide

McClure

Or Shim-sham-SHALI-flavor-MARific, as I'm calling it. They refer to it as a place to get your Fiery Tandoori and that is right on. When the smoke from the fire clears the spices ignite the taste buds. From beginning to end a flavorful meal. The location is right on the edge....... The atmosphere during the dinner rush is madness. Jump on any table available and order at the counter. The food can come fast and just maybe "out of order", Entree, appetizer, rice, who cares. Bring your own beer if you like. All that we sampled was good. The meat entrees will raise the bill but I recommend the Tandoori Chops, Eye-Yi-Yi. That's one tasty barbecued piece of lamb.

 

Turner

What's that smell? Gunpowder? Firecrackers? No, it's the raging tandoors at Shalimar, and you can smell them a block away. We did anyway. It was an assault on the senses. Smoke gushed out the front door, a chaotic crowd moved in and out, Indian music blared, about 50 Indian guys worked behind the counter -- shouting and slinging yard-long skewers of meat in and out of two fiery tandoors. We found a table and let Judge McClure do the honors of ordering at the counter while Judge Vardigan and I scored a six-pack at the corner market. BYOB at Shalimar. Chicken, lamb chops, beef kebab, bread and basmati rice. And oh daddy, was it tasty. 'Bout burned my white mouth off, but I couldn't stop eating. I eats mo' chicken any man ever seen. I am, a tandoor man.

But frankly, I've had better tandoori chicken and bread (naan and/or kulcha) but those chops were RIGHT ON and the rice was fine. Vegetarians are welcome there too. It's definitely an experience, and if you're careful you can eat like a Brahmin but pay like an Untouchable. You might consider getting it to go if a smoky, loud, chaotic freakout is not your scene.

 

Vardigan

Tandoori Chaos. That's what they could call this restaurant. I thought the smell from a block away was that of snakes, those cheap, charry legal fireworks that always stain the curb. Turns out, everything at Shalimar WAS charred -- to delicious perfection, in its deep, tandoor ovens. The chops, drawn from the pits of the ovens with smoke streaming off them -- oh man. And the tandoori chicken was hardcore -- I watched them drag it off those long skewers and plop it on the plate, no extra sauce or "dressing up" needed. Just chicken on a plate. And it better stand on its own, 'cause you aren't likely to get your dishes in any kind of logical order -- our rice came last. But that chicken was great, especially the pieces still on the bone.

A tip: Go grab a table right away if you see one, and worry about ordering later. You have to go up to the counter anyway. And bring your own beer. No easing up on the uninitiated, either -- everything had a helluva spice to it. By the end, Judge Turner was blowing his nose profusely. If you don't like a smoky restaurant, don't come to Shalimar, which looked like the aftermath of a fireworks display, thanks to those incredible ovens. Walls of smoke hanging in the air. We saw a group of people walk in and turn around, waving their hands in front of their faces. Some people are weak. And those people miss great meals.

 

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