Tuesday, August 21, 2007

India's Grill...hidden for 20 years (at least to me)

428 S. San Vicente
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Mon-Fri 11AM-11PM
Sat-Sun 12PM-11PM

What a strenuous week this has been! My apologies for taking so long with this post but it was my 5 year anniversary on Friday and we just took off to the Santa Ynez for wine tasting and the whole "Sideways" experience. It was beautiful and we tasted a whole slew of wines. We got to collect a wonderful bunch of memories that a 5 year anniversary should be filled with. Once we got back we popped into a place by the name of India's Grill that my friend Hector recommended to us. He was taken there by a friend of his who absolutely loves Indian food and passed it on to us.

Located in an area that, unless you're waiting at a light, you would never see. It resides in the strip mall on the Northeast corner La Cienega/San Vicente "Bermuda Triangle" of traffic. It's a cool little spot with a... better than "community Indian" and just a little less than fine dining... comfort to it. Booths and tables and a smallish patio area make up the quaint location that surprisingly has been there for 20 years. I was so impressed when I found that out and instantly thought of Caffe Carrera, because they too have lasted an impressively long time on the Restaurant Row area of Los Angeles. Another great fact... India's Grill is under the same ownership as another great Indian food spot, Electric Lotus.

We popped in and got a booth seat by the window for privacy as well as good lighting for the pics. After perusing the menu we decided on doing things a little differently and had a good portion of vegetarian food included in our order (usually I'm a carnivore when it comes to Indian). We got the Mixed Tandoori Dinner as well as the Paneer Vindaloo Dinner. Both the dinners included sides of garbanzo and eggplant, a mound of naan, and your choice of Raita or salad (we decided on the raita cause Celeste liked the one over at Electric Lotus).

The naan was fluffy and had some serious substance to it. It was a real winner for us since we always feel like many other places are stingier with their naan. I mean come on...it's just bread.

The raita was great for both of our plates. It was just a little bit thinner than we're used to but it had plenty of onions and cucumber.

Both our plates, and I'm not exaggerating, were piled 2 and half to 3 inches high. Surely one dinner was good enough for two people, but we wanted to show you a what this place is all about. Shown above is the Paneer Vindaloo. This mound of goodness boasted their home made sauce as well as home made cheese. It was a balanced plate with flavors of the Paneer's savory sauce framing chunks of tomato and blending beautifully with the garbanzo beans and egg plant (which had touches of sweetness) changing the texture with each bite. Once again, let me reiterate, this was a ton of food and at $15 it's a really good deal.

Our second plate was the mixed Tandoori dinner. Piled high were the pieces of chicken tikka, lamb, tandoori chicken and jumbo shrimp. We doused the meat and shrimp with the lemon wedges provided and chowed...and chowed...and chowed. We had leftovers for the next day equivalent to a large lunch. Both types of chicken were the stars of this plate with the red char on the outside sealing in the juices beautifully. Overall this was a steal at $20 just for the fact that it was so tasty and abundant.

The wait staff were totally sweet, and though in a small strip mall, you completely forget that you're there once inside. I was floored when I found out they'd been doing business there for 20 years. But, seeing how good everything was and what solid service they provided, I quickly understood. And if that wasn't enough, to add to all this, they offer take-out, delivery and catering. Their lunch menu is a bargain with combination plates going from $6 to $9. Next time you find yourself waiting at the infamous La Cienega/San Vicente light you should hop on in and be sure to bring an appetite.

PS. You can only enter by being on San Vicente heading north. How's that for hidden?

Free Drink Refills: Nope (darn you cans of soda)
Entree Price Range: lunch plates are $6 to $9 and dinner ala carte plates range from $9 to $16 most of those being on the lower end of the spectrum. Dinner plates range $15 and up.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh no! Now everybody will know about my favorite Indian restaurant! It was an insiders secret for so long!

October 9, 2007 at 2:43 PM  

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