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Kasa Indian Eatery

Exotic Eats at Bargain Prices

I long ago swore off any destination dining in the ĎStro, as it often proved to be the one-two punch of high prices and food thatís all flash and no flavor. Steam tables, too, usually have all the pizzazz of a bad Vegas buffet warmed over, and my inner rudder tells me to steer clear. And Indian food? Well, you either love its voluptuous heft or you donít. Typically, I donít. An abundance of restaurant taboos come together at Kasa that I would normally avoid like the plague.

But despite the personal preferences that I brought to the plate there is no doubt about it: Kasa consistently produces outstanding eats, is extremely reasonably priced, and has proven to be nothing but piquant and flavorful. Call it gourmet fast food if you like -- chef Anamika Khanna calls it street food. But it continually proves to be abundant, well-spiced, well-crafted, artfully-presented, and a total bargain, particularly for its locale.

Whether you choose to join the neighborhood locals to sup in the metallic casual, IKEAfied dining room, or take advantage of their delivery after 6pm (a rare treat for anything thatís actually edible), Kasa will not disappoint.

The menu, like all of the best, is brief, featuring six to eight rotating curries of meat and veg. Depending on your hunger meter, you have your choice of stuffed Kati rolls ($4.95-$11.95) -- Indiaís answer to the taco on a flaky, ghee-laden flour wrap -- or the full-blown Thali ($10.95), a feast fit for when your pangs are off the charts. Each roll contains just one filling, but the glorious Thali allows for two, and pairs them with basmati, chocolaty brown bean dhal, cool, creamy raita, cilantro and a red chili chutneys, the aforementioned slab of paratha (the flatbread used in the Kati) hot off the grill, and a lemony, fresh chopped salad. The abundance and diversity of flavors and textures would make any slumdog feel like a millionaire.

Though I am a carnivorous gal and I appreciate the restaurantís effort to serve grass-fed lamb and free-range poultry, the vegetable dishes are what truly shine. The bhangin bharta, when available, is a smoky-sweet mash of grilled eggplant balanced with texture from the crunch of peas.

The karahi paneer is equally unforgettable. Be certain to explore this toothsome cheese tossed with silken green peppers, onions, and a light tomato sauce. And the aobi aloo, a frequent player in the daily vegetable special spectrum, is an exotic cinnamon-doused treatment of cauliflower that will snake charm anyone who claims not to like the vegetable into a trance.

Among the meats, the chicken tikka has great grill flavor, and was much preferred over the tikka masala, which seemed to dilute both flavor and texture. The lamb curry was almost there, but certainly could have benefited from just a notch more garlic and ginger.

And the turkey kebab -- while I applaud their use of the underdog of all the meats Ė was more of a turkey burger, and one that lacked any bite. And while all dishes could easily be described as not for the faint-of-salt, this one in particular truly cracked under the weight of the great white flake.

Beer and wine are available. And among the soft drinks, a housemade chai or mango lassi ($2.50 each) are a nice, sweet choice. Dessert? They donít have any. Another on my list of restaurant taboos that Iím more than happy to look past.

Indian
Castro
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No Reservations.