Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dessert from Darbar

Darbar is a Indian restaurant in Nob Hill.  I haven't actually been there for the savory food, I just swung in to pick up a rice pudding to go, when I was seriously craving rice pudding, and found myself nearby.  I was literally just walking by, recognized the name of the restaurant from having read what I recalled to be decent reviews, and decided it was worth a try.   I really wanted rice pudding! (Have I mentioned that I love pudding?)

The restaurant is small, with an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet set up along one side for $7.99.  It was 12:45pm on a Sunday, and there was only one patron in the entire place.  I think that buffet does not see much action, never a good sign.

I ordered my rice pudding from the woman at the register, expecting her to take one out of the cooler next to her, where beverages and pre-packaged rice puddings were waiting.  Instead, she called back for an assistant, who came out with a little container, and proceeded to walk over to the buffet.  There, he scooped rice pudding from the big vat that was sitting on the buffet line.  He put a lid on it, wrapped it in saran wrap, and handed it over in a paper bag.  WAT!

I appreciate that they wrapped it in saran wrap, which helped minimize any mess.  But um ... why didn't I get one of the pre-packaged rice puddings, and instead get one of the contaminated ones from the buffet?  I was too blown away by this move to even say anything.  Buffets are notoriously gross, this one clearly wasn't high throughput, and the rice pudding was just out at room temperature.  Ahhh.  Not cool.  Literally.

The woman behind the counter pointed out to the guy who gave me the rice pudding and bag that he should have included a spoon for me.  So, he included a fork.  At this point, I was still in shock over the buffet antics, so I didn't bother giving him the plastic fork back.

Anyway, the rice pudding was fine, but I won't be going back.
Darbari Kheer.  $2.
I almost didn't eat the rice pudding, as I was so disgusted by the whole buffet thing.  But ... I love rice pudding.  I really wanted it.

It was very simple rice pudding, described as "rice pudding enriched with nuts", but I didn't find any nuts in mine.  Perhaps there was a sprinkling of pistachio bits?  It was just basic rice pudding, short grain rice, a bit al dente, in a thin creamy sauce.  It had some spicing, but I couldn't quite identify it.  It wasn't particularly good nor bad.

$2 was a fine price for a little cup of rice pudding, right in line with the similar portion I had from Lahore Karahi.  In fact, it reminded me a lot of the version from Lahore Karahi, not just in size and price, but also consistency, flavor, everything.  Perhaps they don't make either in house and it comes from somewhere?  I do appreciate restaurants offering small desserts.

While the rice pudding wasn't bad, it wasn't memorable enough to bother going back for, scooped from the buffet or not.  I'm still claiming the packaged stuff from Juan J's is the best I've had around town.
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