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Thursday, May 22, 2014

East Bay Bite of the Week: Pavs at Juhu Beach Club

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 4:00 PM

click to enlarge The Pork Vindalated Pav's distinctive vindaloo barbecue sauce blends the influence of East and West. - JUHU BEACH CLUB
  • Juhu Beach Club
  • The Pork Vindalated Pav's distinctive vindaloo barbecue sauce blends the influence of East and West.

A little over a year ago, a buzzy, chromatic little spot opened onto a burgeoning corner in Temescal. It was a small space for the big name and big game that former Top Chef contestant Preeti Mistry brought to town, but no matter. Mistry's food has spoken loudly from the inside of Juhu Beach Club, and there are legions of fans to prove it.

See also: East Bay Bite of the Week: Barkada's Burger

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Mistry's food is a jovial take on Indian street food. It's neither the greasy, right-off-the-cart dahl you might actually find on the streets of Mumbai, nor is it the dressed up iterations you'll find on the white tablecloths of spots like Ajanta. Her food lies somewhere between, full of heart and spice piled up so high that sometimes you can't fit a sandwich in your mouth.

If you can, all the better. Mistry makes a spread of slider-like sandwiches -- pavs -- that offer everything from lamb meatballs with mint raita to pulled pork in a vindaloo barbecue sauce. The best, though, are sometimes the simplest. The Chowpatty Chicken features grilled green chili chicken under a messy wig of slaw. My favorite, though, might be the Holy Cow: Braised short ribs dressed up with the earthy funk of black cardamom, balanced with cool and chunky cucumber raita. Can't choose? Get a few. That's the point of a pint-sized sandwich, right? One pav will cost you $7, two for $12, and three for $15.

On the the drinkable side, an unusual riff on a classic lassi blends the alphonso mangos with a lime yogurt, making for a salty sweet relief from the peppery fire of the pavs (should you be so bold as to go for the ghost pepper chutney). Juhu also makes some mean homemade chai, kicked into gear with fresh ginger and a thoughtfully balanced blend of spices. This is India, after all.

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Molly Gore

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