July 20, 2024
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All-Day Dining Delights: Unveiling Desi’s Menu Magic

All-Day Dining Delights: Unveiling Desi's Menu Magic
Photo Courtesy: Desi (@eatadesi)

By: Elizabeth Galewski

Get ready to nosh on a tasty Indian-rooted cuisine in the Bay Area! Desi Contemporary Indian Casual restaurant brings mouth-watering flavors to the cities of Campbell and San Jose, California. The restaurant’s menu offers everything from appetizers like savory cheese tarts and small plates like Indian-style tacos to full entrees like their blackened chicken tikka bowl.

Never heard of Indian-style tacos or blackened chicken tikka bowls fused with Indian flavors? At Desi Contemporary Indian Casual restaurant, you can expect a wholly novel yet relatable culinary experience with similarities to other cuisines.

The Inspiration for Desi

Desi’s founders, Mohit and Archana Nagrath, were born and raised in India before earning master’s degrees in the US. While enjoying successful careers in the tech industry, they met people from diverse backgrounds and traveled the world. 

These experiences also gave them an appreciation for food’s power to bring people together. “Gathering for a meal is a wonderful way to build bonds,” Mohit says. “Our goal with this restaurant is to form bonds where eating, drinking, and socializing converge to create happy memories. It’s well suited for a casual date night or hanging out with friends and family, or grabbing a beer or cocktail with some wide range of delectable eats.”

During their travels, they discovered many unexpected similarities between cuisines in far-flung places and their connection with Indian cuisine. This insight inspired Desi’s outstanding menu. “Our food celebrates those similarities,” Archana explains. “At Desi, you’ll find classic dishes prepared with a spin from a different part of the world.”

It’s impossible to pick highlights from the menu since everything tastes so good. So check out the wide range of dishes available at Desi.

Desi’s divine dishes

Many of Desi’s main dishes feature bowls that come with your choice of saffron or spinach rice, as well as makhani sauce, turnip salsa, and both fresh and pickled vegetables. If you’re a chicken lover, check out the chicken bowl, which features clay-roasted fowl, or that aforementioned blackened chicken bowl. Alternatively, swap the chicken out for paneer or blackened salmon.

Want your chicken or paneer tikka but don’t want it in a bowl with fusion-style sauces, pickles, and veggies? No worries. Desi can give you either of these classics straight up with naan on the side.

The Coastal Grilled Fish Bowl, which features sea bass, is slightly different from the other bowls. While this entree also comes with turnip salsa, pickled vegetables, and a garnish of fresh seasonal salad, it’s served with saffron rice and coconut korma curry. The Desi team is working on further creating globally inspired bowls like a Mediterranean charred malai chicken bowl, Asian bowl, and Desi Tex Mex bowl to add more vibrancy to their hugely popular big plates.

Other main courses include Pepper Chicken and Paratha, a boneless chicken breast rubbed with crushed pepper on whole-wheat flaky flatbread, and Sarson Ka Saag Paneer, a savory sauté of spinach, mustard, and cottage cheese served with naan, which is traditional yet crafted in a modern way for an individual meal.

Vegetarians can also find plenty to love on Desi’s menu. Check out the Dal Makhani Sourdough Naan, where the classic flatbread is served with dal (a slow-cooked lentil soup), whipped cream and butter, and cilantro. (Yes, it’s possible to hold the cilantro).

Are you in the mood for some quick bites? Desi’s got you covered.

Desi’s unique Indian tapas

Desi’s small plates can satisfy your cravings at any time of day. You can get sliders with chicken and paneer tikka or minced lamb. Perhaps the most unorthodox option is a samosa slider with mint chutney and pickled onions. All of these options come with your choice of salad or fries.

For a single vegetarian sandwich, consider the Indian Street Burger, which comes with a patty made from quinoa and vegetables. Slaw and fries are served on the side. For a wrap, see the Kathi Rolls, where paratha is wrapped around a filling of chicken, paneer, or minced lamb.

Have you never seen Indian food presented as a taco before? Now you’ve got your chance! Desi’s “Dos Bros” tacos serve blackened chicken, paneer bhurji, Amritsari fish, or even vegan curried jackfruit in a soft flour roti (tortilla). Their “Kulcha Chalupa” taco does the same for pindi chole — a vegan-friendly chickpea curry in thick gravy — or butter chicken in a mini naan that is like a fluffy chalupa.

Believe it or not, that’s not all the delicious delights you can dine on at Desi.

Street food at Desi

The street eat offerings at Desi are unique and complement their Gabru bar craft cocktail program well. From their verde cutlet to curd rice poppers (which are great finger food!), you can satisfy your cravings for fried pastry with an empanada stuffed with mushrooms, cheese, green pepper, and garlic. Alternatively, try a deconstructed samosa with Desi’s Gabru Samosa Chat, a bowl full of peas, mashed potatoes, pindi chole, chutney verde, and yogurt.

If that wasn’t already enough, check out Desi’s take on bruschetta — toast points topped with chicken or paneer tikka, mozzarella, onion, and bell pepper — or their “Galauti,” in which miniature naans provide the base for a lamb or vegetable patty melt (a.k.a. galouti), pickled onion, and mint chutney.

Desi even has its own version of fish and chips. Fried tilapia is served in a basket alongside fries and garlic tartar sauce in its cheekily named “Punjab to California Via London.”

Desi’s Tandoori Kukkad delivers a no-carb option of classic boneless chunks of tandoori-roasted chicken tikka alongside a fresh salad and lemon. Alternatively, try the Basil Paneer Tikka, which presents cubes of cheese stuffed with basil pesto in Indian spices and yogurt.

The list of Desi’s innovative dishes goes on. Moreover, Gabru Bar at Desi specializes in cocktails you can’t get anywhere else to elevate your mood and complement your food pairings.

Desi has something for everyone

Next time you’re in the Bay Area, Desi Contemporary Indian Casual restaurant is a must-try. Its extensive menu of fun and unique, yet relatable options means there’s something for everyone at any time of day. Your mouth will be amazed by their classic dishes with a twist, or fused with flavors and dishes from worldly cuisines to create a relatable yet new experience!

Published by: Martin De Juan

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