Thursday, August 11, 2005

Kennedy's Irish Pub Curry House - San Francisco

restaurant review Kennedys Irish pub Indian curry columbus san franciscoThis is a copy of my latest article for SFist in which I eat my way around the Bay Area in alphabetical order and then write about it in SFist style using the 'royal we. This week we are on the letter K.'
Try and think of somewhere, in the heart of San Francisco, that you can dine on South Indian specialities like Dosa and Uttapam. Not such an easy question, is it?

Ok, just to make it a little less difficult, we'll limit the boundaries of the question even further. Name a place in San Francisco where you can drink draft beer from all over the world in an Irish pub setting, play a game of pool, eat chicken nuggets, fish and chips, clam strips or Indian food, play arcade machines, battle it out at the air hockey rink, pretend you're David Beckham playing table football or sit outside with views of San Francisco's Cable Cars and maybe even listen to some live music to boot. All of this, until 1am in the morning. By now you should know the answer. If you don't, where have you been all your Bay-Area life? You have been missing out on a very fun, very cheap, very satisfying San Francisco night out.

restaurant review Kennedys Irish pub Indian curry columbus san francisco Kennedy's Irish Pub and Indian Curry House, opposite Bimbos, on Columbus between North Beach and Fisherman's Wharf is one of the places that helped ease our cultural transition, from Blighty to America, four and a half years ago. And we've been coming back ever since. What is the appeal?

If you are trying to arrange a casual night of dining and drinking for a large group of friends, planning logistics can be a nightmare. At most restaurants, reserving a table for eight or more people often turns stressful when people drop out at the last minute or, conversely, suddenly want to squeeze a few extra mates into the equation. For this kind of scenario, Kennedys provides the perfect solution. You simply turn up, grab a pint of $2 beer from the large selection available (personally we favour a Boddingtons), and wait for everyone else to arrive.

restaurant review Kennedys Irish pub Indian curry columbus san francisco Once your party is set, you can move into the large dining room with it's eyesore-white wedding-reception-style chairs and high ceiling swathed in a bizarre, theatrical, froufy purple and white striped flag to find a table for dinner. The menu mixes both Northern and Southern Indian cuisine with a few Western-style Bar Snacks. The portions here are huge. If there are just four in your party, you are almost bound to over order. We've found that a table of eight can try a good selection from the menu and just about polish it all off.

The 'exotic appetizers' are paticularly enormous. In fact, the fairly tasty vegetable samosas are giant-sized. As there are two per order don't even think of reserving this dish for yourself, it easily feeds four. Spinach pakora, tasty, battered and deep-fried, come in a basket, prefect for sharing. On our last visit the Onion Bhaji had ceased to be the size of two tennis balls, instead receiving the same treatment as the pakora, with dozens of little pieces of onion that could easily be passed around the table. If you had to choose between one or the other, we would suggest you side with the green vegetables, your mum would be proud of you.

restaurant review Kennedys Irish pub Indian curry columbus san franciscoAsk the waiter if they wouldn't mind holding off delivery of the main dishes until you've eaten your fill of the starters. Otherwise the food is going to start arriving before you're ready and there simply won't be enough room for it all on the table. For your entrees, we recommend each person chooses a curry they like and then you all share. Or not. Most dishes are served with rice. SFist is particularly fond of the vegetarian delights like Baigan Bhaji - clay oven roasted eggplant, or any of the any of the paneer (Indian Cheese) dishes. We know of people who don't actually like to share their own order of Chicken Tikka Masala. Many of the lamb dishes are tasty, too, although none of the curries are on the particularly spicy side which may disappoint those who like it hot.

Because South Indian Specialities are unusual in these parts, you simply have to order a Dosa or a Utthappam to share on top of everything else. The Masala Dosa - a delicate Indian crepe filled with spiced potatoes is so enormous that eight diners can each have an ample-sized taste of it on the side. It is served with a savoury bowl of sambar (lentil/vegetable soup) and coconut chutney. The same two accompaniments come with the Utthappam, a large, flat rice cake that almost resembles pizza. It tastes nothing like, of course, and is a little bland save for those perky sauces on the side.

Wash all of this down with a $7 pitcher of Kingfisher and you won't be able to move for a week. Or you could slowly pick yourself up, shuffle over to the air hockey table and start to try and work some of it off...

Kennedy's Irish Pub Curry House

(415) 441-8855
1040 Columbus Ave

This review was

Locavores August Eat Local Challenge 2005

PS. Yesterday's eating local challenge was half successful, half not. Breakfast was totally local. For lunch, I went to my favourite cafe in Marin where they are committed to using local sustainable produce. I'll feature them tomorrow. In the evening, Fred had arranged to meet some friends at Chez Maman, a little French place in our neighbourhood. I was told that they use fresh organic produce which they get through Green Leaf and the Golden Gate Meat Company. I had a glass of French wine.
Other reviews of Kennedys:Yelp - Citysearch

Other bloggers review local restaurants beginning with the letter K: Kiss - Koi Sushi Boat - Kyoya - Kappa - Kuletos - Kokkari - Kabuto Sushi - Koo Sushi - Kitchen Kura - Koi Palace - Knudsens's Ice Creamery - Kabila - King Pin Donuts - Kabul Afghan - Kirk's Steakburgers - Krispy Kreme

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Kennedy's Irish Pub Curry House - San Francisco


  • At 11/8/05 10:10, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    What a crackup! Go to an Irish pub in the USA for Indian curry. And yet, and yet... it all makes sense.

  • At 11/8/05 11:13, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You bet it does. Like a Parsi owned Italian food joint in Pune,India .

  • At 11/8/05 11:19, Blogger Monkey Gland said…

    Go on admit it, it's nothing like a Brick Lane curry is it though?? Actually Tooting's much better these days...

  • At 11/8/05 13:59, Blogger Jennifer Maiser said…

    that eat local day sounds pretty darn successful to me ...

  • At 12/8/05 00:28, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    as an irishman i naturally avoid all irish bars outside of ireland. that been said you occasionally have to... (trials of life). i went to one in tokyo recently. i swear it was as if i had stepped into a pub in dublin. it evoked the feeling that no one that works in the irish service industry is actually irish perfectly.

  • At 12/8/05 07:49, Blogger Sam said…

    CC - yes - makes sense - like the chaos theory.

    Deccanheffalump - how is the food?

    MG - no not brick lane - it's true and definitely not enuff Laaahndan accents

    Jen - I gues the evening meal didn't feel successful. I wasn't convinced about the organic claim, and I couldn't be sure any of it was local.

    Anonymous. Ceiling fans, lovely, thank you.

    Steve - This Irish opub is definitely not authentic. My sister lives in Ireland so I have been many times. There is nothing quite like a real Irish pub, though I can't imagine them since the smoking ban.

  • At 12/8/05 17:57, Blogger Farmgirl Susan said…

    Sounds like a place after my own heart (and tummy). I LOVE air hockey! : )


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