Although the delicious cheesy breads dipped into spicy tomato-based sauces may imply that Broad Street’s newest restaurant is just another pizza place, San Luis Obispo residents hungry for more foreign options should rest assured.
Indian restaurant Shalimar is the newest addition to the growing list of international cuisine to hit San Luis Obispo.
The restaurant’s name comes from Shalimar Gardens, a Persian garden built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in modern day Pakistan. While San Luis Obispo may not compare to the beauty of that Persian garden, owner Sam Khen wants to ensure that the cuisine does.
Khen describes his food as “authentic Indian cuisine with a Pakistani flavor” which one can smell immediately upon entering: an intoxicating mix of herbs and spices.
Shalimar specializes in tandoori cuisine, which is the practice of cooking meats in a ‘tandoor’, a cylindrical clay oven used tradionally in India.
Traditional Indian bread, known as Naan, is also available for your eating pleasure, made in a number of tasty ways including being stuffed with garlic, cheese or chopped onion.
Naan can be a delicacy on its own, but dipping it into one of the many spicy sauces used for Indian main dishes make it a heavenly experience.
Dishes are made with a variety of meats such as chicken, shrimp and lamb, and most are served in a sauce that makes for wonderful naan dipping. There is also a large vegetarian portion of the menu, including items such as paneer tikka marsala, a homemade cheese cooked in Shalimar’s spicy Punjabi sauce.
Among the many dishes offered is chicken tikka marsala, a dish that involves marinating chunks of boneless chicken in a spicy red curry sauce.
Shalimar offers a number of main courses that range in price from $9 to $12 but a main draw of the business is an all-you-can-eat buffet that features most of the main menu items from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
With a price of $6.95, the buffet aims to target even the most frugal of diners.
“If you have one Whopper, it’s more than $6.95,” Khen said. “Or you can come here and have as much authentic food as you want.”
With authentic Indian food comes authentic Indian spice, but Khen stressed that the restaurant will cater to the level of spiciness the customer desired.
“We can make it very spicy,” Khen added. “But if people want it with no spice, we can do that too.”
Khen is new to the restaurant industry with only a month of experience at Shalimar, his first restaurant. But he says that he understands what people want when they come to Shalimar.
In particular, this involves fresh ingredients. “We have a great menu, and when people order it we make it fresh every time,” Ken said. “We don’t have anything frozen.”
If you’re an adventurous eater with a taste for spicy and exotic food made fresh, Shalimar just may be the place for you.