When my dad's cousin's kids (yup, still can't figure out all that second cousin twice removed crap) invited my sister and I to late night pearl tea at Gong Cha in Fremont, our first and foremost concern was finding a place to have dinner in the vicinity.
I happened to be working from my org's Fremont branch that day, so my sister picked me up from the office and then drove us to Shalimar, which is just around the corner:
Don't wait to be seated. Pick your own table and make a note of what number it is:
Then go up to the counter to place your order. They're going to ask you for your table number. After you've paid, sit back down at your table and wait. The food will be brought out to you. Enjoy some complimentary chai in the meantime. Your food will arrive before you know it.
We were almost giddy about Shalimar because of this:
Brain masala ($8.95):
Yes. Brain. Lamb brain, to be exact. Cooked with butter, onions, tomatoes, and a bunch of awesome spices. So creamy, so delicious. You have to try it.
Just avoid eating it in the presence of a doctor or a doctor-to-be. My sister, who is currently applying for med school, couldn't stop trying to identify the chunks of brain. Though I suppose hearing someone exclaim "braaaaaaains!" before every other bite could get annoying real fast too. (And yes, that would be me.)
To add some healthiness to our meal, we also ordered a palak paneer ($6.95):
Spinach and cheese. So healthy.
My sister prefers rice over naan, so we ordered a side of Shalimar chawal ($2):
Which is basically basmati rice with a hint of saffron.
I, on the other hand, will always choose naan. I decided to splurge a bit and get the garlic one ($2.50):
There are a couple reviews on Yelp that talk about rude service. While you won't get the warmest of greetings, I wouldn't exactly call them rude. All it takes is a smile to soften up the guy at the counter.
My sister and I are now hooked on brain masala. We love Shalimar. There's nothing pretentious about it. Just good, good food without any frills. We've been back a few times now and the food is always awesome. Not to mention the price is reasonable and the chai is free and never-ending. The portions may look small, but it's just enough.
Make sure to bring cash though. And though Yelp says it's open basically all day, Shalimar does close between 3:30 to 5:30. We learned that the hard way when we showed up last Saturday after a long day working a naturalization workshop only to find it closed.
Spare yourself the pain.
3325 Walnut Ave
Fremont, CA 94538