Occupation: Forensic Mental Health Therapist
Favorite Restaurant: Sakoon Restaurant
Reviewed Sakoon Restaurant: Tuesday, January 7, 2014
When people generally think of Indian food, poor service and a lack of upscale ambience often comes to mind. I have seen a few Indian restaurants mentioned on Check, Please! Bay Area and think Sakoon, at the very least, deserves mention. Even when I overhear discussion of upscale Indian restaurants in the Bay Area, certain names come to mind, but not often Sakoon, which flies under the radar.
Sakoon’s owner, Balkar, is an exceptional experience to the U.S. market. Exotic décor set with fiber optic lights set it apart from any other Indian restaurant in the area. Images of Buddha in hand-carved wooden panels, the shimmer of a waterfall cascading into a pool of lotus petals, and a variety of color and patterns create a lounge-like atmosphere. There are various rooms to accommodate parties of varying sizes. If catering an event, the chefs can create a customized menu specific to your needs.
At Sakoon, the chefs come from 5 star restaurants in India and are pushing the boundaries of Indian food with traditional and contemporary flavors representing multiple regions of the Indian subcontinent. The food is inspired by local ingredients, something that is de rigueur for many Western restaurants but a rarity for Indian cuisine.
Owner Balkar has been in the food industry since 1997 and currently owns 3 restaurants in the field, with Sakoon being the pinnacle of his work. He aims to create a restaurant in the city as well.
Occupation: Digital Media Consultant
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Cocotte
Reviewed Sakoon Restaurant: Thursday, December 12, 2013
Sakoon was a pleasant surprise; their take on borrowing from the past yet reinventing anew with vibrancy and modern flair was true to word. The ambiance was more modern than you see in typical Indian restaurants: lots of colors and designs, lighting that changed from dim to bright and cushy seats and booths. I wasn’t sure what they were going for with their decor and it seemed a little disjointed all together, but it was a clean environment which was most important to me. The restaurant was full of customers but the acoustics were good – my friend and I could hear each other talk just fine over the table. The staff was very nice all around and aiming to please all around, but the service in general was very slow – from our ordering process to the time in-between the dishes which was too long for my taste. But we were happy to have a glass of wine while waiting as they carry a nice list of organically farmed wines.
The portions were large enough for two people to share and have leftovers. I thought the food was very good, excellent use of the spices, not one spice overpowering the other. The Sheekh Kabob and Tandoori Chicken were made in a clay oven and were juicy and came with chutneys and onions on the side. The Lamb Curry tasted like a very traditional North Indian curry and was spicy but not overpowering for me on the heat (although I can eat very spicy food). The Vegetarian Biryani was a great mix of curried vegetables, rice and spices which were presented in a deep bowl covered with a naan and baked in the oven. The presentation was awesome and it kept the rice warm. I love okra and really liked the tangy flavors of their Bhindi. All in all it was a little far from the city to go for dinner, but well worth it as the flavors were very traditional and their menu had many modern options on traditional dishes. I would definitely return.
Occupation: School Superintendent
Favorite Restaurant: Hana Japanese Restaurant
Reviewed Sakoon Restaurant: Thursday, January 2, 2014
The downtown area of Mountain View is a busy, happening spot, with restaurants seemingly one after the other for blocks, catering to all palates and a variety of cultures. When I first walked up to Sakoon, the front window seemed rather unassuming, but when you walk in you immediately realize what a vibrant, classy and upscale Indian restaurant you have entered. Fiber optic lights that changed subtly from one color to another welcome you as you walk by the well-lit bar area.
The booths and tables downstairs are comfortable and inviting. It is definitely a place versatile enough for a romantic dinner or a celebratory dinner with a group of friends or colleagues.
The wait staff was friendly, almost mellow. They seemed to go with the flow of our energy level regarding the fact that we were in no hurry to order and really wanted to have a cocktail and study the menu. I ordered a drink called Mistress of Spice, as much for the name as for the variety of ingredients. Initially, it was fruit forward, almost tropical in flavor, with the perfect amount of spicy heat at the finish of every sip. It was unusual, surprising and the perfect introduction to what would follow as an evening of culinary surprises and nearly perfect food.
Our waiter, at our request, gave us a variety of recommendations for both appetizers and main courses. As there were three of us dining, we ordered four appetizers and followed those with four main courses and two side dishes. Enough food for at least six people, but one of us (me) ate enough for four!
The appetizers were all great, especially the Avocado Jhalmuri (a small cake of great flavor and gentle spice, bound together by puffed rice) which was rated a ten by all three of us. The main courses of Butter Chicken, Jhinga Angara (skewered shrimp), Shrimp Curry and Bhunna Gosht (lamb) were all perfectly spiced. The desserts were good, especially the Triple Chocolate Crème Brulee, which you have to taste to experience. Words can’t do it justice.
All in all, a fantastic dining experience! If you live anywhere in the vicinity of Mountain View, you have to make a point of visiting Sakoon. If you live further away, you may want to consider moving!