Review: August 1 Five.

One of the best parts of living in the Bay Area is the endless plethora of restaurants including various ethnic cuisines.

I love Indian cuisine due to the rich and varied spices they use and their cooking techniques (tandoori oven). One of my favorite traditional Indian restaurants would be Amber India. For Southern Indian cuisine Dosa (which I don’t like as much) seems like the only spot in the city. Other newer Indian restaurants are Babu Ji (decent) and ROOH (modern Indian cuisine that I enjoyed).

August 1 Five near Civic Center serves modern takes on Indian cuisine so I was curious on how it would compare to ROOH. The décor is swanky with bright blue velvet booths, black leather chairs, large wooden tables, and colorful ornate fixtures.

Majority of the menu I could decipher but there were some dishes that needed a little more explanation. We started off with a few small plates.

Palak Chaat: Baby Spinach, Garbanzo, Tamarind, and Yogurt (7.5/10).

A fun vibrant fried spinach salad. The crispy airiness of the spinach with cooling tangy yogurt and tart sweet tamarind sauce was a great combination of textures and flavors. The raw pieces of red onion, tomato, and herbs added necessary freshness to the fried spinach.

Pepper Chicken with Black Pepper, Curry Leaves, and Mustard Seeds with Rice Lentil Crepes (6/10).

This was my least favorite dish of the night due to the fact that it was too spicy. I can typically handle medium spice but while eating this dish, the heat sensation just kept building up and lingered on my tongue for a while. I wish the menu or our waitress informed us that this was more on the spicy side as I don’t think the majority of people would enjoy this.

The next few dishes were slightly larger.

Bison Keema with Bacon and House Rolls (7.5/10).

The rich ground bison meat had sweet caramelized onions and bacon…and this was some bomb bacon. The fluffy house rolls were decent but lacked that butteriness that I craved.

Lamb Chops with Cashew Paste and Yogurt (7.5-8/10).

The lamb chops themselves were beautifully cooked, tender and delectable. I just wish the outside seasoning of cashew paste with yogurt, cardamom, and mace was a little more prominent because it slightly lacked salt for my liking.

Bread Sampler (7/10).

The bread sampler came with cheese and basil naan, potato and sage naan, and missi roti. By far the cheese and basil naan was my favorite but overall not as solid as hole in the wall joints for naan bread.

Fig and Honey Kulfi (8/10).

Kulfi is Indian ice cream that’s denser and creamier. Simple but delicious.

Toffee Sticky Pudding with Date, Caramel, and Brandy Snap (8/10).

I love any type of sticky pudding…it’s warm, gooey, and so freakin’ good. With the caramel it’s just a match made in heaven.

The food was delicious but nothing really wowed me. I wish I tried some of the seafood items just because all the meat dishes were slightly heavy. Perhaps going in a larger group would be better in order to try more dishes since portions were larger than I expected. Overall I preferred my experience at ROOH more for contemporary Indian cuisine so my rating for August 1 Five is a 7-7.5/10.

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