There is some sort of unwritten rule that the nicer the Indian restaurant is, the worse the food. This is why most of us go to the Pakwans and Shalimars of the world, the dives. The food is good while the restaurant itself leaves much to be desired. (At one Pakwan, they have a sign that says: “We have the right to refuse service to anyone.” That cracked me up because, seriously, what service?). But no one really cares about the actual restaurant and lack of cleanliness because the food is awesome. Hence, no one who patronizes these restaurants cares about how one looks when eating. You eat with your hands, what do you expect?
Which brings me to Sultan in San Francisco. It’s an Indian restaurant with nice ambience, waiters, and *gasp* cloth napkins! This is crazy because they actually have good Indian food!
I forgot my surroundings as my dish and my naan came. I ate my food like I always eat desi food, not really caring about being dainty and all that. So when I looked at my cloth napkin stained red orange from my chicken masala dish, I felt the shame. I tried to fold my napkin over, with the stains on the inside. I then saw that some had seeped through to the other side. Oy. The waiter came by later to refill my water but I told him I was fine. I did not want him to have to handle my glass. Not in front of me anyways.
Oh the humanity. . .
Congratulations Sultan, you are the exception to the rule. Someone remind me not to look like a fool next time I eat there.