Haandi Indian Cuisine & Bar (909) 581-1951 7890 Haven Ave, #23 Rancho Cucamonga, Ca. 91730
7-Eleven 39590 (909)948-1400 7900 Haven Ave, #23 Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
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Restaurant of the Week: Haandi

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This week's restaurant: Haandi, 7890 Haven Ave. (at Town Center), Rancho Cucamonga.

India is a mild curiosity of mine, and Indian food likewise, but I'm barely conversant with its basics. Most of my dining is done at lunchtime, and most of our Indian places do nothing but buffet at lunchtime. I don't like buffets much.

Recently, however, I thought to try dinner at Haandi, which is in the Deer Creek Center on Haven north of Foothill. The interior is plush, with lacquered tables and booths divided by etched glass. Indian art is on the walls and Indian music videos play on a flat screen TV.

The restaurant's backstory is intriguing; owner Sartaj Singh is from India but studied cooking in Italy, and so he owns an Italian restaurant (Antonino's) and an Indian restaurant (Haandi), both in Rancho Cucamonga. You can read about him on the RC Now blog here. The Haandi location began as a second Singh-owned Italian restaurant (Primavera) and still looks vaguely Italian.

But what of the food?

Chicken tikka masala ($12.99), chunks of tandoori chicken in curry sauce, and shahi paneer ($10.99), cheese in tomato sauce with ginger, were both delicious. And colorful: one dish yellow, the other red. The papadum (free), a crispy flatbread, came with green and red condiments. So most of the color wheel was represented at the table.

The papadum is an acquired taste, but the naan ($2.25), a pita-like bread served hot, was more to my liking. Many other menu items sound enticing, including lamb and seafood dishes, and there's plenty here for vegetarians.

I returned Wednesday for lunch and to take a photo of the sign. Of course the buffet is a given; it's what everyone does, so you don't even get a menu.

Well, the buffet ($9.99) isn't bad: salad, saag, bhindi masala, chicken tikka masala, vegetable samosas and tandoori chicken, among other items, plus kheer, a rice pudding, for dessert.

But I'm looking forward to my next dinner at Haandi.


HAANDI INDIAN CUISINE ***** BY INLAND VALLEY DAILY BULLETIN

FRIDAY, MARCH 13,2009
DINING GUIDE

HAANDI INDIAN CUISINE
*****

It'll be difficult to find a better Indian restaaurant in Southern California. From an array of samosas and pakoras to such scintillating dishes as Shrimp Goan in a coconut cream sauce, Chicken Tikka Masala, Mango Lamb Curry, and Pillau Rice with assorted vegetables, the intensity of flavors and the lingering tastes that go on forever make this restaurant one of the standouts in the Indian Cuisine firmament. Basmati rice accompanies all entrees and portions are larger than commonly seen at most Indian restaurants. But it's the 15 different masalas (spice blend) that set this jewel in crown apart from its competitors.
7890 Haven Ave. #15-16, North of Foothill Blvd, Rancho Cucamonga, 909-581-1951


Westways Magazine

7890 Haven Avenue, Rancho Cucamonga; (909) 581-1951

Dinner for two, food only $35-$60
Setting Suburban storefront filled with images and sounds of India
Service Serious and proficient
Best Dishes Vegetable samosas; chicken korma; mushroom masala curry

As the world's largest democracy, India's influence in the world is rapidly expanding, but its multifaceted cuisine is often under-appreciated in America. However, those willing to discover its subtle use of spices, healthful qualities, and dramatic regional variations are usually hooked for life. Diners can explore dishes throughout the subcontinent at Rancho Cucamonga's Haandi Indian Cuisine.

In the image Chef Hartaj Singh (top center) presides over the menu at Haandi Indian Cuisine in Rancho Cucamonga. Diners are treated to tantalizing Indian dishes, including tandoori salmon (right), pistachio ice cream (bottom center), and mushroom masala curry (left).

Haandi is owned by chef Sartaj Singh, whose formal culinary training in Italy prompted him to open nearby Antonino's. At Haandi, his brother, chef Hartaj Singh, shows off the cuisine of their native country in a handsome restaurant carved out of a suburban shopping center. With cozy booths, lacquered tables, and images of the Taj Mahal juxtaposed against a plasma screen showing Indian pop music videos, the family-oriented eatery is casual and affordable.

The sizable menu concentrates on Northern India's specialties. Among starters are familiar samosas, fat deep-fried pastries filled with either ground meat or a creamy mixture of potatoes and peas; gobi pakora, cauliflower dipped in chickpea batter and fried; and onion bhajia, India's answer to onion rings.

Patrons can order a wide range of curries in any degree of spiciness, but insisting on "mild" risks taking the soul out of Indian cuisine. Vegetarians never feel left out here, and mushroom masala curry, bathed in a rich golden sauce, is one of the best meatless options. Chicken korma, flavored with herbs from Kashmir, arrives in a rust-colored yogurt-cream sauce with raisins and nuts. The tandoor, a clay oven that heats to 800 degrees, seals in the flavors of yogurt-marinated meats and is used to bake naan, India's signature flat bread. Seafood is also cooked in the tandoor, and Haandi serves tandoori salmon, mahi mahi, sea bass, and shrimp.

For dessert, consider rice pudding or pistachio ice cream to douse the heat of any dishes you may have requested on the spicy side.


Three Hundred People Attend Event at Indian Restaurant in Rancho Cucamonga

Three hundred people attend event at Haandi Indian Cuisine in Rancho Cucamonga. Food critic, Jonathan W Smythe investigates.

Email HYPERLINK "/pdfdownload/491939.pdf"PDF HYPERLINK "/printer/491939.htm"Print

Rancho Cucamonga, CA (PRWEB) December 23, 2006

When 300 people attend a restaurant it is always interesting, especially if it is not a private event but a public one. It is even more intriguing when the event is held at an Indian restaurant that only seats about 120.

In a recent joint promotion with Mercedes Benz, Haandi Indian Cuisine in Rancho Cucamonga attracted twice as many people than anticipated.

"We never expected a turnout this big, we thought maybe 100 would show up," states Sartaj Singh, who with his brother Hartaj is owner of Haandi.

"Mercedes parked a couple of the new models and we sent out a few invitations to customers and friends. At first the people trickled in, and then in the early evening there was a tidal wave of people."

"There was a cross section of American and Indian people, the parking lot was packed. It was great!" continues Singh.

Did these people pour in to see the cars, or for the Indian food? Or both?

One of the biggest problems for Indian restaurant owners is overcoming the impression that all of the food is hot and spicy. This is just not true.

Most diners that have never tried Indian food automatically say "Oh no! Those curries are too hot." That's similar to avoiding Starbucks because you don't like hot coffee. They serve iced coffee too, and a lot more.

As a big fan of Indian food, dining at Haandi was not a problem. But anybody in the "oh no!" contingent should give it a try.

Anybody that has never tried Indian food, the Haandi lunch buffet is the way to get started and acclimated to the taste. Future visits can be a little more adventurous by ordering off the menu, but don't be afraid to ask the waiter about each dish.

The Haandi chef cooks authentic recipes in the tandoor -a clay oven heated up to 1000 degrees. The inside of the tandoor is coated with a mix of spices, and then as the food is cooked, the aromas of the spices are absorbed in the food.

Meals begin with a complimentary order of papadam, a crispy bread that is served with mint sauce and tamarind chutney.

One of the traditional beverages is Kingfisher Beer and makes a great compliment to spicy Indian food. For wine lovers, Gewurztraminer also works very well with Indian food. Rotate your wine glass to release the wine's aromas then put your nose into the glass and smell apricot, peach, rose petals or honeysuckle emanating from the Gewurztraminer.

The Haandi buffet changes daily but always consists of three appetizers, three meat dishes, salad and two desserts items.

If available the tikka masala, tender chicken in a tasty gravy, and dahl makhni, a side dish made from lentils is a good choice from the buffet.

Ordering off the menu the Chicken Malai is very tasty. This is an all white meat dish marinated in yoghurt and herbs then cooked with coconut and creamy spices in the tandoor.

Both meals come with Indian bread called naan. Naans come in several varieties, including plain, and the aloo paratha which is stuffed with potatoes.

Desert, yes Indian restaurants have desserts! The lunch buffet included kheer, a pudding made by boiling rice with milk and sugar then flavoring with cardamom and pistachios. Kheer is served chilled making it very refreshing.

An all time favorite is Gulab jamun, which are fried milk balls served in sweet syrup flavoured with cardamom and rosewater or saffron.

Any first time diner at an Indian restaurant will be a convert after tasting the Haandi buffet.

Despite the unassuming location, Haandi Indian Restaurant is on a par with the award winning Bengal Clipper Restaurant situated in London's trendy Shad Thames District.

It is easy now to understand why 300 attended the event and that the food at Haandi Indian Cuisine was a major contributing factor to the overall success of the event.

"The event was a success for Mercedes too because they sold 7 cars that day. We are planning a similar event in the near future," concludes Singh.

Haandi Indian Restaurant is located at 7890 Haven Avenue Ste. 15 & 16 Rancho Cucamonga

They are open 7 days a week for lunch 11:00am - 3:00pm and at 5:00pm- 10:00pm for dinner.

For more information please call (909) 581-1951 or go to http://www.haandiindiancuisine.com

Jonathan W Smythe travels extensively looking for the finer things in life, such good food and wine. When he finds them Smythe likes to point them out so others can share in his passions too.


www.busjournal.com

April 2010 Journal
Vol. 22 No. 4
Business Journal Feature Articles:
"Woman of Distinction"

Haandi, the Exclusive Indian Restaurant in Rancho Cucamonga,
Is a Welcome Treat
By Joe Lyons

First, let’s get past the pronunciation. It’s not Honda, like the car. It’s not handy as in convenient. Its Ha-ah-dy.
Having settled that, let me tell you that Haandi is an exclusive Indian restaurant with their specialties cooked in a tandoor (clay oven).
The location is where Primavera used to be, on Haven in Rancho Cucamonga. It has the same owners, who also own the Antonio’s Italian restaurant just down the road at Foothill and Vineyard. Owner Sartaj Singh decided, about a year ago, that two Italian restaurants was one too many. Since he and his family happened to be eastern Indian, he decided to turn one of his facilities into an Indian restaurant.
It is obvious that he is sensitive to the tastes of Inland Empire dinners. If you are expecting a menu of lamb and curry, you won’t be wrong. But the variety of items on the menu, and the adjustments to American tastes, makes Haandi a welcome treat. Much of the dark wood decor from the earlier format remains, leaving a warmer, more sophisticated feeling than many Indian restaurants have to offer.
For many of us, like myself, who are not regular Indian food eaters, let me recommend the buffet lunch as an introduction. It offers you a variety of items, some familiar, like the salads, and some serendipitous, like the tandoori chicken, the lamb and the rice.
Take as little or as much as you like and give yourself a chance to learn what there is to enjoy. You will want to ask for garlic nan, the leavened garlic bread that works as a pusher, or for a holder. Even by itself, it is a treat.
By the way, an expanded version of the buffet is available as Sunday brunch, including Champagne.
The regular menu is as authentic as possible. All 20 of the vegetable dishes are curried and come with mint chutney. There are 10 curried lamb selections. Chicken comes in over a dozen selections, including the chicken vindaloo, which is boneless chicken cooked in hot spices and potatoes.
The seafood comes in curried style, including a combination platter, and also comes with the mint curry.
Several variations of the chicken, shrimp and lamb come as tandoori delicacies. The tandoor, the clay oven, is a very hot, very quick form of cooking. In pizza parlors, a regular pizza oven takes about 15 to 20 minutes to cook. In a brick pizza oven, the temperature approaches 1,000 degrees and can bake a pizza in less then 5 minutes. It is the same with the tandoor clay oven. These dishes are prepared in the clay oven and served sizzling hot on a bed of onions and fresh lemon with mint chutney. All of the tandoori entrees are served with rice, pappedan (crispy bread) and tamarind. Spicing is done to your taste, mild to hot.
Even the desserts are Indian or Indian-influenced. Gulab Jamun is an Indian milk cheese ball. Mango Kulfi is Indian ice cream flavored with mango. The Ras Malai is a dumpling in rich milk sauce. There is also a rice pudding. If you are unsure about your dessert choice, there is a sampler for you to try out.
Indian cuisine is not yet popular here in the Inland Empire. We are lining up for the newest version of restaurant styles that we are familiar with around the west end, but we remain standoffish about the things we are not familiar with.
It is not going to hurt to try something as exotic as Indian, when they are going so far, both in preparation and in décor, to make you feel comfortable.
Try Haandi—-Rancho Cucamonga’s tandoori restaurant.

Haandi Indian Restaurant is located at 7890 Haven Avenue, Ste. 15 & 16 ,Rancho Cucamonga. They are open seven days a week for lunch 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. and at 5:00 p.m.- 10:00 p.m. for dinner. For additional information, call (909) 581-1951.

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