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by Max Hauser

Chicken Tikka Masala at Shezan

With updated remodeled interior, Shezan (216 Castro, 650 969 1112) replaced Godavari (which in turn supplanted the venerated Sue’s Indian Cuisine after Sue Sista’s death).  Shezan incidentally kept Sue’s original phone number, used since the area code was 415.  Shezan bills itself a Pakistani and Indian restaurant, and offers lunch buffets.

Chef Sacin Chopra and some other employees have left Sakoon (357 Castro, 650 965 2000, www.sakoonrestaurant.com), though many original staff remain.  Comparing the current menu, I find it recognizably similar to those in Chopra’s tenure, with maybe a fractional shift toward traditional Indian rather than experimental dishes.   Wine pairings (something people don’t always think of in Indian restaurants) remain a special interest of Sakoon’s management, who are training servers to advise about it.  The bar continues its “happy hour” food and drink deals in late afternoon and early evening.

Beyond its prompt and conspicuous recommendation in the 2010 Michelin Guide, Sakoon continues to garner critical and online reputation as an innovative high-end destination.  Some experienced diners now call it the leading South Bay Indian restaurant, or among the Bay Area’s unique special-occasion eateries.  The one feature they’re apt to criticize is the same one I mentioned in a longer report here in March: service that’s inconsistent (the more conspicuously so, given the generally high level of Sakoon’s kitchen and décor).

Outside city limits but of sure interest to sandwich-loving carnivores is the novel, year-old Adamson’s French Dip, 806 W. El Camino Real at Hollenbeck, Sunnyvale (408 830 9024, www.adamsonsfrenchdip.com, open Mon-Sat 11-7, call ahead with orders, use credit card on the phone).  Adamson’s illustrates an endangered US species: the independent fast-food restaurant, unrelated to corporate chains.  Stett Holbrook, our perceptive South Bay restaurant journalist, wrote it up enthusiastically in the Metro as “one of the Bay Area’s top sandwich shops” (http://www.sanjose.com/adamsons-french-dip-a26791) and I recently tried two of the sandwiches.  Adamson’s simple menu builds on a wood-fired oven roasting herb-rubbed beef, which is cut to order in thin slices and piled on French rolls for the sandwiches, served with a dipping sauce of meat juices.  Optional extras include Havarti cheese, grilled onions, mushrooms, or Jalapeño peppers.  (French-dip sandwiches are a personal interest; I make them when I have leftover roasted beef.  Your preferences may vary of course, but I’ve found that these sandwiches excel on cool evenings with a glass of white wine and a plate of raw vegetables.)  Adamson’s also smokes its own meats for other sandwiches with barbecued chicken, pork, or tri-tip or prime rib of beef.

Adamson’s signature French-dip sandwiches come with either roast prime-rib ($8.95) or top-sirloin ($6.95) beef.  I asked the manager on duty, and she recommended the top-sirloin version, though it’s cheaper.  Why the higher price for the prime-rib roast?  A more expensive cut, she said, but some people prefer it.  I certainly enjoyed that sandwich and one with BBQ pulled pork ($6.50); they came on soft French rolls about six inches (15 cm) long.  Will explore Adamson’s menu further when I can tear myself away from downtown MV’s many good restaurants.  Adamson’s has been extremely popular, and a second location in Palo Alto is in the works.

If you like cold noodle salads, now’s the time to get the seasonal special hiyashi chuka,  $8.95 at Maruichi (368 Castro, 650 564 9931).  This bowl of cold house-made noodles with a variety of fresh and slightly pickled vegetables, a little cold meat, split hard-cooked egg, pitcher of citrus-soy dressing, and blob of hot mustard is the local favorite of some experts on Japanese noodle dishes.  High comfort food that most people in the US would probably enjoy.  But Maruichi’s business rises when outdoor temperatures fall (logically enough for a restaurant specializing in hot bowls of multiple kinds of noodles freshly made right out in front).  When the remaining summer heat goes, so does the cold noodle salad.

Comments are welcome on these restaurants or others.  Post to www.omvna.org/local-restaurant-news.

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