Tag Archives: modern Indian cuisine

Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 9

A brimming box of chicken Pulao from Ettan in Palo Alto.
A brimming box of chicken Pulao from Ettan in Palo Alto.

Ettan, Palo Alto

What a difference a few months makes. In late February, I was invited in as a guest to try the splashy new Ettan restaurant that had just debuted in downtown Palo Alto. Little did I know that would be the very last time I’d dine inside a restaurant for the foreseeable future.

So it was with a sense of warm familiarity tinged with a bit of melancholy that I returned to this modern Indian restaurant last week to pick up takeout.

The restaurant is a collaboration between Ayesha Thapar, a real estate and fashion entrepreneur, and Srijith Gopinathan, executive chef of the Michelin two-starred Campton Place in San Francisco. So it’s got style in spades, as well as serious cooking chops.

You may not be able to go inside, but the entry remains as beautifully dramatic as always.
You may not be able to go inside, but the entry remains as beautifully dramatic as always.

The striking entrance with its indigo doors, iron latticed screens, crystal chandeliers, and fanciful tiles still make a grand statement. And the food is still every bit as impressive, even if you can’t enjoy it on the restaurant’s rough-hewn ceramics and gleaming copper vessels at home.

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Rooh in Palo Alto Is Smoking Hot

Duck kebabs cooked on a mega grill at the new Rooh Palo Alto.
Duck kebabs cooked on a mega grill at the new Rooh Palo Alto.

When husband and wife, Vikram Bhambri, a Dell vice president, and Anu Bhambri, a former Microsoft senior software engineer, moved to San Jose from Seattle, they scoured the Peninsula for nine months, searching for a location to open their first Bay Area restaurant.

But the perfect locale actually turned out to be in San Francisco, which is where the couple, who also has restaurants in India, opened the modern-Indian Rooh in 2016. That was followed in quick succession by Rooh locations in Chicago and Columbus.

Now, finally in 2020, the Bhambri’s original dream has come true with the opening of Rooh Palo Alto — in a big way.

Executive Chef Sujan Sarkar in the kitchen.
Executive Chef Sujan Sarkar in the kitchen.
The custom grill that was fabricated in Atlanta to Chef Sarkar's specifications.
The custom grill that was fabricated in Atlanta to Chef Sarkar’s specifications.

It is the first of their restaurants to focus on live-fire cooking. In fact, it boasts a 13-foot-long custom grill, smoker and rotisserie. The Bhambris believe it’s the first apparatus in an Indian restaurant in the world. It can be admired behind glass from the dining room, as chickens rotate over the fire and whole pineapples hang overhead, turning soft and caramelized.

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