Don’t let Gulzaar‘s worn look dissuade you. This is indeed a House of Full Flavor in West San Jose. A native South African opened the restaurant in 2007, featuring Halal Pakistani cuisine. In 2012, Najib Khairy and his family, who hail from Kabul, Afghanistan, took over for their restaurateur friend. The result is a surprising culinary amalgam, the type of which is only possible in a cultural crossroads like California. Somehow, the mish-mash still works.
The small storefront features layered white and green walls decorated with hand-painted roses, arched doors and mirrors, green clothed tables, and a sign announcing Gulzaar as “House of Full Flavor.” Photos help to illustrate the restaurant’s often disparate dishes.
Mixed Plate ($10.99) combines supple beef kebab with chapli kebab, a ground beef patty flecked with onion and pepper. The base consisted of flavorful biryani tossed with fried shallot, saffron, lentils. Masala spices bring heat, and tangy yogurt mint chutney helps cool your palate.
Chicken Samosa ($2.95) contained ground, herb-flecked white meat. The crisp sheathes weren’t greasy, and dipped readily in spicy tomato sauce. Najib Khairy hopes to sell his family’s samosas at Whole Foods.