What, exactly, is the standard of greatness? The modest braggadocio behind the Haight's new Great Indian Food sets up at least slightly heightened expectations, even if the signs proclaiming its greatness are in a variant of comic sans, which is not a great typeface.
Inside, there are other indications that this might not be the zenith of a South Asian dining experience: a proprietor holding a loud phone conversation for twenty minutes, and televised golf projected on one wall. (However, the counter staff were friendly and knowledgeable and another wall had a Bollywood film screening on it).
A combo platter of palkh pork and dal makhani (lentils), with rice, raitha (yogurt-herb sauce), chutney and a roti, was perfectly good, although I probably could have eaten two. What stood out was Great Indian Food's house thorkha, a mix of onions, garlic, ginger, cumin and chili powder fried in ghee and sprinkled on the dal. And of course, who can resist a mango lassi? If you are one of the lucky few but you still want something sweet, there's a roti rolled in brown sugar as well as kheer, Pakistani rice pudding.
One kind of expects bigger portions for $10, considering the potential loss an Indian buffet incurs for less because one sometimes starves oneself in advance and go back up for seconds and thirds. It might not be Great, in a drive-across-town sense, but it's definitely better than adequate. One Yelper claims that Great Indian Food "blew every [Indian restaurant in Cincinnati, Ohio] out of the water." So that's something.
Great Indian Food, 1793 Haight, 750-1313.