Monday, May 11, 2009

Yes, Real Indian Fusion Food Exists

For all of its complexity, diversity and deliciousness, Indian food rarely comes in hybrid forms. I love my palak paneer and naan as much as the next person, but sometimes it's just too heavy. And seeing the same dishes on Indian menus around the world does get a touch dull after a while. Especially when the cuisine has the potential to lead to all kinds of exciting culinary experiments and hybrids.

So imagine my pleasant surprise when I discovered someone had the same idea. Over thirty years ago. Just a short, scenic drive away from my house. A Punjabi visionary named Avatar Singh it seems saw that Indian food could, as perfect as it is, be something more. And drawing on new world influences, he created a menu of creative concoctions melding Mexican and Indian cuisine. The result still shines over thirty years later in a Sausalito restaurant with his name, Avatar's, which his family still runs. I suppose if an Indian Mexican restaurant were to happen anywhere in the 1970s, it would be in the Bay Area!

Try the punjabi enchiladas. The flavor combinations have a lot going on, but are consistently delicious. I'd strongly recommend the curried rock shrimp. For the more creative, you can even design your own fillings. And for those needing more guidance, one of my favorite things about Avatar's is Ashok Kumar. Ashok is Avatar's brother and hosts at the restaurant regularly. He rarely forgets a face or an order, and in just two minutes will have such a good read on you that he can suggest personally tailored orders. I haven't been dissapointed by his recommendations yet.

If you find yourself hunting for an adventure outside San Francisco, or crossing the Golden Gate bridge around dinner or lunch, make a stop at Avatar's. The meal will be an adventure on a plate. And I can guarantee you'll be eating something you probably won't find anywhere else.

Avatar's Restaurant
2656 Bridgeway Blvd.
Sausalito, CA