The popular Indian food truck Curry Up Now has hit the big time. Their first brick and mortar restaurant opened this past Saturday in downtown San Mateo to long lines out the door. Fortunately, they invited some friends, family and food bloggers for a sneak peak the day before they opened to the public.
“Everything’s the same except now we have a restaurant,” said staffer, Jessica Hui. Their four food trucks will continue serving their versions of Indian street food all over the Bay Area. “The restaurant is more of a sit down place to eat, whereas the trucks are for people who just want to grab and go,” although takeout is always an option at the restaurant as well.
Customers order from the oversized menu on the wall and pay at the counter. You then scribble your name on one of the mini chalkboards they’ll give you, and take it to your table so the food can be delivered to you there.
The menu looks almost like a mural, becoming a focal point for the entire room. “The fonts on the chalkboard menu are inspired by hit Bollywood movies,” says owner Rana Kapoor. That, along with their newly redesigned pink and orange logo, add a pop of color and character to the otherwise clean, simple, yet comfortable setting. And there is definitely an urban feel from the distressed wood and brushed metal accents that is on par with their street food roots.
The menu is almost identical to what you’d find on one of their trucks, including fan favorites like Chicken Tikka Masala Burritos, Kathi Rolls, and Deconstructed Samosas. They plan to do different specials everyday to change things up a bit.
The biggest differences are the selection of Thalis, which are like dinner/lunch plates, and include saffron basmati rice and parantha (a sort of flatbread) and small salad. Diners choose from either two or three items from the list of options, which include Kadhai chicken, paneer or tofu, and Keema Matar Aloo. Fans of the Curry Up Now trucks and those familiar with Indian food will have no problem maneuvering through the menu. Those who aren’t will need some handholding from the friendly staff.
The other difference from the truck is the addition of a kids menu. Since this is a suburban brick and mortar joint, the need for this was obvious. “I didn’t know what to put on the kids menu so I asked my kids what I should do,” says Kapoor. “They said, ‘Mom, just serve them what you serve us!’” Hence the three options of either a quesadilla, Tandoori chicken or paneer, or Kathi Roll, and a side order of fries or broccoli.
Chicken Parantha Quesadillix with yogurt
Like any other restaurant, there’s no point in judging the food on the very first day of operation, but I’m glad to say all the items I ordered were completely consistent with the taste and quality of the food on any of their trucks, including the Chana Masala, a spicy stew of chickpeas and classic Indian spices, and the Chicken Parantha Quesadillix with yogurt on the side and that famous green sauce.
Curry Up Now’s over 4000 Facebook and almost 6000 Twitter followers will surely be excited at the thought of grabbing a Kathi Roll whenever they want now. And with a stable location, new fans won’t have to have a Twitter account to find their food.
*This article is cross posted on Bay Area Bites.