Four of the best spots for Indian takeout
The last time I dined at Yeti in Glen Ellen, it was with a merry group celebrating a dear friend’s birthday. We feasted on excellent Indian food and giggled over silly jokes at a cozy table on the quaint wood patio overlooking Sonoma Creek.
The last time I dined at Yeti in Santa Rosa, it was with a boisterous gang of friends celebrating life. We shared outrageous stories and laughter amid an ornate décor of tapestry-trimmed chairs, marble and gold knickknacks and fresh flowers all around.
Sigh. These days, the only Indian food I get is tucked into takeout boxes, which I eat quietly on my couch, surrounded by my Doberman, Rhodesian ridgeback, Maltipoo and Chihuahua pups (ever hopeful for a bite, ever drooling).
In the big scheme of things, however, this hardly equals suffering. Wine Country boasts a glittering array of top-notch Indian restaurants, all crafting deeply spiced, fragrantly seasoned, toe-curling-delicious South Asian specialties. The dishes travel perfectly for takeout and, if anything, become richer and more complex as they rest and meld flavors on their short journey to my home. The meals also reheat easily if I order too much, which I usually do, since the food is so good.
Plus, dining this way is so easy. I simply hop in the car and pull up for curbside service. I always order and pick up directly now after learning how much corporate delivery companies can charge restaurants to process online to-go orders and coordinate delivery, taking up to 40% of the eatery’s revenue.
So check out the menus and start the car. If you’re craving curry, naan and tikka masala, here are some of the most mouthwatering choices.
Chef-owner Narayan Somname has been wowing diners with his Indian-Nepalese cooking at his Glen Ellen restaurant since 2008. Then, in 2015, he opened a second location in Santa Rosa to equally eager crowds. Everything is homemade and riveting, from charcoal-fired tandoori salmon fillet brightened with annatto-hued paste, yogurt, garlic, ginger and Himalayan spices on a bed of onions, bell peppers and broccoli ($21.99) to silky chicken saag, a Punjab-style classic curry stocked with chopped fresh spinach, fenugreek, fennel, onions and garlic ($15.95).
Start with chicken momos, the lovely bright green flour dumplings stuffed with minced chicken and Himalayan spices, steamed Newari style and dunked in sweet-tart tamarind-mint sauce ($8.99).
I always get the dal makhani, too, for soothing lentils simmered overnight over glowing tandoori embers in a stew of onions, chile, ginger, cream and butter garnished with cilantro, tomatoes and bean sprouts ($9.99).
For extra heat, add a splash of Somname’s fiery chile sauce.
On the side, for sopping up every last drop of sauce, is superb butter-bathed naan that’s tandoor-baked golden and pliant ($2.99), plus fluffy steamed rice ($2.99).
There’s fancier cuisine here, too, featuring recipes not often found at local Indian restaurants.
I love the elegant Hyderabadi-style biryani ($20.95) of delicate long grain basmati rice cooked in ghee with sautéed onions, dried fruits and saffron, then tossed with prawns, onions, tomatoes, coconut gravy and a bit of basil.
I mix in dollops of raita (cucumber and yogurt kissed with pepper, coriander and cumin) and scoop it up with naan. It’s bliss.