The Kitchen Sink 

For The Love Of Pie

Some pizza you eat just because it's there. Some pizza is so good that you'll wait several hours for it. And some pizza is worth fighting for.

About nine months ago, Brian Duff passed Raj Indian Cuisine on Telegraph and 61st Street and saw a banner outside advertising pizza. He wondered if the restaurant was serving Indian pizza, one of the most offbeat -- and delicious -- specialties of San Francisco's Zante restaurant. So he called. They did. And it was even better than Zante's.

When Brian e-mailed me last week, I got excited too. Those of you who have never had Indian pizza can't imagine how good it is. Six years ago I lived around the block from Zante and dragged friend after friend in to be converted. Raj's version is constructed along the same principle: Instead of tomato sauce, a thick layer of spicy spinach curry, gingery and slightly tangy, covers the pie. Vegetarians get cauliflower and scallions on top, and meat eaters get vegetables plus tandoori chicken, lamb, or prawns. Add a sprinkle of mozzarella, and you've got a cross-cultural chef d'oeuvre.

Six weeks ago, Brian called Raj ("It was a Tuesday, 'cause we were watching Buffy") and was told that Mr. and Mrs. Raj, the owners, had taken Indian pizza off the menu because it wasn't selling. He called back several times, but couldn't persuade them to bring it back. That's when he started a petition. Brian and fifty of his friends promised -- in writing -- to order Indian pizza often and to let other people know about it. The pizza went back on the menu when it was reprinted last week, just in time for the New Year.

Brian also e-mailed me to ask me to get the word out. Okay, folks, let's help Brian and his friends keep Indian pizza alive. He recommends ordering "Indian pizza" and adding "the curry-sauce one," or else you risk getting one of Raj's American-style pizzas, which you don't want. The pie is available in a number of sizes, from a one-person small ($10.99) to a five-person extra-large ($18.99). And you don't even have to miss Buffy to order it -- Raj delivers.

Raj Indian Cuisine
6228 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. 510-653-3301.
Open for lunch 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat.
Dinner: 5:30-9:30 p.m. Mon-Thurs.; 5:00 - 10 p.m. Fri.-Sat.
Call to ask about delivery (evenings only)

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