Let me start this piece by saying that I have a confession. Last week I was spotted twice leaving two different restaurants clutching a napkin. Literally, I received an email from a reader a few days ago inquiring whether that was me (yes, indeed it was) outside of two of the most long-standing Indian food establishments on the Westside (in my defense, separate days).
“What’s on all the napkins,’ she asked, “The way you were carrying it, it would appear that you had a winning lottery ticket. Do tell!”
In short, 10 menu items that I absolutely could not forget – as each one I tried reminded me of something “so and so friend” would love because of the flavor, texture, and color. So, I wrote them all down – on napkins.
Ready to hear about two Indian restaurants where you’ll be able feed anyone and everyone?
• Chutney Sampler: Three (I recommend more) of the house-made chutneys with samosas chips. I could’ve eaten the walnut one for days – perfect for anyone who loves chips and dip.
• Eggplant Deva: Japanese eggplant topped with fennel tomato sauce and garlic-ginger yogurt. Soft, savory, and succulent – a dream for those who like the texture of roasted vegetables and the consistency of a casserole.
• Garlic Naan: Like a soft fluffy pancake-tortilla, topped with garlic and cilantro. Think garlic bread in pita form but with little blisters from a stint in the oven.
• Malai Seekh: Minced and herbed lamb wrapped around a skewer. This is lamb sausage baked in the Tandoori oven, and anyone who likes sausage, kabobs, and Iranian Koobideh will happily tuck in to this.
• Rasgulla: Fried popper-sized bites soaked in rose syrup. If you love donut holes this is the sweet for you – the secret here is that they are actually made from cheese.
Bombay Café is located at 12021 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles. For more information, call 310.473.3388 or visit www.bombaycafe-la.com.
It is open for lunch Monday through Saturday from 11:30 am to 3 pm. Dinner hours are Monday through Thursday from 5 pm to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday from 5 pm to 11 pm, and Sunday from 5 pm to 10:30 pm.
• Fish Tikka Kabob: Boneless seabass cooked in the Tandoori oven on a skewer. Best fish I’ve ever had, hands-down. Mouth-melting caramelized on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside. Comes on a sizzling platter fajita-style. You won’t find a better fish. Seriously.
• Sag Paneer: Spinach and cheese. Think creamed spinach with more texture and flavor, dotted with cubes of firm but melty “swiss-cottage cheese.” Beloved for all vegetarians.
• Paneer Kulcha: Naan stuffed with cheese, just like a quesadilla but with an Indian spice twist.
• Potato and Cauliflower Pakora: Reminds me of tempura, but with less grease and more texture between the crisp exteriors. Basically, fried veggie-lovers delight.
• Nawab Special Chicken: Minced chicken cooked in cashew nut gravy (creamy). For those who like Italian, this is your protein-packed fettuccine alfredo but without the noodles and a much lighter impact on the stomach.
Nawab India is located at 1621 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica. For more information, call 310.829.7576.
It is open Monday through Friday between 11 am to 3 pm and 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm. On Saturday and Sunday, it is open 12 pm to 3pm and 5:30 pm to 10 pm.
Who would have known that you could satisfy and feed a vegetarian, a vegan, an omnivore, a pescatarian, and even those who live on pizza all from one cuisine and one restaurateur?
If you haven’t tried Indian food yet text these items into your phone (or write it down on a napkin) and go visit today. You won’t be disappointed!
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