Friday, February 22, 2008

Clay Oven - Irvine

Clay Oven Cuisine of India
15435 Jeffrey Rd # 116
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 552-2851
Type: Indian food

I skipped out on work one day cuz I had some Indian food cravings. My girl looked on the internet for good Indian restaurants and found Clay Oven. Their website says that CitySearch voted them best Indian cuisine in Orange County. Of course we were going there. First, we had to make sure they had an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet, cuz that's usually when I go to eat Indian food. We called and they did. The buffet costs $9.99 per head.

Clay Oven is located somewhere on Jeffrey Road with a Thai place and a Japanese restaurant in the same plaza. Helpful, I know. This ain't my town man. Parking is a mother during their peak hours cuz we barely found a spot as someone was leaving. The restaurant is pretty small, but looked bigger at first with their mirrored walls.

I couldn't wait to eat. We got our seat, and then headed straight to the buffet line. Oh man I was excited. I grabbed my plate and surveyed my veggie selections. Grabbed some veggie fritters which are like vegetable tempura but with a thicker crust, some basmati rice, some stew of some sort with potoatoes and cauliflower I think, some mushroom peas, and some spin..... Wait. Wait, hold up. Wh-whe. Where the? WHERE THE HELL IS THE SPINACH (palak paneer)? I was really kind of panicking a little inside. I looked at my girlfriend, and she was a little worried too. I stood around a little at the end of the food trays, looked around helplessly, and made our way back to the table. Maybe they'll put some out soon. Calm down, and eat.

So we began eating. The mushroom peas were pretty good. The potato stew was okay. The veggie fritters were as good as veggie fritters can get I guess. I'm not really a fan of these, that's why I only got one. The rice was cool, but it was different from the other Indian places I've had. These were more fluffy and moist-- almost Jasmine rice-like. I like the other Indian rices better. The naan came. I think it was just regular naan. This also was lighter and fluffier than their competitors'. Again, I like their competitor's naan better. This was not what I was hoping for. I miss my spinach.

My veggie plate sans spinach.

My girl felt the same about the rice, fritters, and everything else. To add to my dish, she got the tandoori chicken. She said it was good, but she's had better.

We were not enjoying our meal so much, that we finally asked, I think it was the owner or manager, "Are you guys gonna have spinach out?" "Oh, no. Not today. We change up our dishes everyday," were his similar words. "NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" was what I said in my head. After he left, we got into a huddle, and discussed out situation. A few seconds later, we ended up ordering our beloved spinach. So we put our food on hold for our green savior.

A few minutes later, it came served in a little bowl thingy. Yes!! It's here. Now we can enjoy our meal. EHHH!!! Wrong! One bite of the spinach, and I knew we were in trouble. That thing was so sour and tangy. Jeez. I've only had one other tangy palak paneer, and that was some place in Covina that we never would go back to. I guess it's just their style of making it, but it doesn't fit mine. I was literally dreading every bite of it. I couldn't finish it, so we just took the rest home.

palak paneer of tangy death

The only thing that made this place bearable was the service. The owner or manager was really, really nice. I feel bad saying all these negative things about this place because it might hurt his business a little. Hopefully we're the only ones who had a bad experience here. But even though we like the owner/manager, we're not gonna be back. Sorry.

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