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This latest member of a successful San Francisco chain boasts an electric bar and plush dining room—adding energy, decadence, (and a couple of bucks on the final tab) to a restaurant that serves velvety dishes, such as coconut chicken curry and saag paneer (spinach with homemade cheese). Still, while you can choose the level of heat, the full array of intriguing and redolent spices so unique to Indian cuisine remains in the background, creating dishes that are high quality but slightly subdued. Blistered naan, sizzling platters of clay oven–roasted dishes (including lamb, shrimp, and tandoori chicken), and innovative biryanis (rice casseroles) best reflect Clay Oven’s well-baked philosophy. Dining room management is a bit officious, and the kitchen can take its time. But when the food does arrive, it’s consistently fresh, hot, attractive, and abundant. If you’re a fan of vegetarian or lamb dishes, you’ll likely have a standout experience. Lunch and dinner daily.
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