food road trip: a yeti spotting in glen ellen california
Me and the SO have spent a whole day wine tasting and after all those reds and whites, let's face it, ones tongues goes kind of numb. But it also seems to create an appetite for us and we definitely need to find a spot for a casual dinner bite. This is where talking to the people who pour the wine comes in handy. We started asking them some spots that might be worth checking out. It's how we ended up at Yeti Restaurant in Glen Ellen, CA after two different wineries recommended the place. You gotta figure if it must be pretty good for more than one person to mention it. Plus, some spicy Indian food seemed like a good way to revive our taste buds.
We were early enough in the dinner time realm to not need a reservation, though, the place got busy later so something to keep in mind. They have indoor seating, but the weather was warm at sunset and we snagged a seat on their outdoor patio that overlooks a ravine with a small stream. Bonus for all the trees creating a shady canopy.
The menu is pretty standard with all the Indian faves and specialties familiar to most. And since I can't resist, we started off with something deep fried but not the normal samosa or vegetable pakora I've gotten before.
Called onion bhajji, it's Himalayan spiced garlic (whatever that is), ginger and onion slices mixed in a garbanzo batter then deep fried and served with a tamarind and mint sauce. It is rather like onion rings, just in a jumbled ball form. They were hot, crispy and crunchy with a lovely golden brown color, like they should be. This is one of those things where if you cook it right, that is half the battle. You get plenty of onion in each ball, though the ginger seemed a light touch and I kind of missed it. But the tamarind mint sauce adds more than enough flavor spark to make up for that. They also had other spicy sauces on the table with varying degrees of pepper kick depending on how much you think you can stand.
The SO was in a chicken curry mood and as an entree it comes served in what I'm gonna call a tiny silver bowl. Not exactly the biggest portion for the cost. It's chunks of white meat chicken cooked in a sauce of tomatoes, onions, chili, mustard sees and fresh curry leaves. Though, most of those items must have cooked down and out as what we got was just sauce and chicken. The chicken was tender and the curry sauce was more red than classic and it did have some subtle spice bite to it but it also came across slightly oily--which you can kind of see that layer on top in the pic. Outside of that, it was okay but I can't say I was blown away by any flavor depths here.
I can sort of say the same thing about the matter paneer of cubed farmers cheese and green peas in what they called a spicy gravy and tasted like a thicker version of the curry from the chicken. Again, served in a tiny bowl, though I will say there was more of the paneer than you get sometimes so that was nice. But it was not as spicy as I thought it might and the sauces on the table came in handy to bolster it up. As before, a nice enough tasting dish, just not overly memorable.
We did get rice with it but it was just regular steamed rice at a $2 upcharge and of course, naan.
Butter naan (natch!) to be exact and it was a giant piece of bread for sure, thought the butter is more essence of than flavor addition. But it was hot, crispy and freshly made. With a sprinkle of salt, it was satisfying to sop of some of the sauce left in the bowls.
I guess I can see why this place was recommended, the food is well cooked, service is attentive and the wood deck offers a cool respite on a warm day. I do think their prices are a tad on the high side considering portion sizes, though that seems par for the course with Indian spots sometimes, much like Thai restaurants.
While it isn't going to knock your socks off, it is still decent and standard Indian food that will appeal to many. Particularly after a full day of wine tasting where some of your senses might be hazy from alcohol and need a little perking up.