I normally wouldn’t steer people to the Castro for good food. Up until a few years ago, the best you could hope for was a slice of ‘za or greasy-spoon diner fare. Mind you, things have been on the upswing in recent years (I even wrote a story on it a couple years back). Restos like Sumi, Lime and Côté Sud have raised the bar. But my favorite, hands down, is Tallula, in the space of the legendary Ryan’s. Unfortunately, she’s closing.
Restaurateuse Harveen Khera, whom we met back in the early days at Delfina, is smart, fun and makes some rockin’ chow. Raised in England, Harveen projects the flavors of her Indian heritage through the lens of Continental technique, creating a far more refined experience than any curry house you’ve ever been to. Her dhosa are the perfect blend of lightness and richness, luxuriously adorned with lobster, peas and truffle oil. I recently had a heavenly skirt steak with morels and saffron tomato base. (Did I mention that I am not a beef eater?) The frites with mango pickle aioli are epiphanous, the creaminess of mayonnaise offsetting the overpowering sourness of the pickle and elevating its subtle flavors. And best of all are the innovative cocktails with romantic, J Peterman-esque descriptions that merely imply their ingredients. (viz. the Cleo: Flying in from India with cherries in her beak, whispering, "Tamarind, Where are you?")
Tallula closes on Valentine’s Day, and they’re already fully booked that night. If you’ve never experienced this unique and nearly indescribably restaurant, this is last call. I know I intend to keep a keen eye on Harveen’s future endeavors.
4230 18th St, across from Cala Foods