Friday, March 18, 2011

Palo Alto: Happy Hour at Mantra

E and I have been attempting to go to Happy Hour at Mantra since last February, but we finally made it there on Tuesday after work - hooray!  Mantra just finished a rather dramatic renovation, and now the entire space feels much more open.  We took two bar seats toward the inner end, ordered mocktails (I was driving and we were both tired) of lemongrass lemonade and sparkling orange/cranberry/pomegranate, and clinked our glasses to each other and to Paras; we all have much to celebrate and be grateful for.

Our first appetizer was the vegetarian sampler.  I found this underwhelming because, when I came to Mantra for late-evening appetizers with some classmates last spring, the same sampler was much more robust; at that time we were actually served what the online menu advertises: aloo tikkis, samosas, paneer, and salad.  On Tuesday, the plate seemed paltry and thus overpriced (even with the 30% Happy Hour discount), though I suppose it's a matter of perspective.  From left to right: pani puris, garlic edamame (honestly, a little WTF), and some sort of fritter.

The vegetarian samosas we also ordered, however, did not disappoint.  Wonderfully flaky shells, flavorful filling, and quite addictive when paired with little dollops of tamarind chutney and/or mint sauce.

Our entire appetizers-and-drinks spread:

We decided to share an entree of chicken tikka masala, along with butter naan and rice.  E wished the naan was doughier, while I thought it was pretty perfect.  The chicken was nothing revelatory, but satisfied whatever savory craving we had had.

The bill, post-discount and pre-tip, came to around $32.  All in all, a very nice dinner, a year in the making :-).