FLAVOR OF INDIA
Flavor – As Good as it Gets
I know you will enjoy the natural charm, service, and delicious food at Flavor of India. Most seating is on their festively heated enclosed patio, which twinkles with "itzy‑bitzy" lights. One could think of it as romantic for dating, and along with a big "A" in the window, it's homey and warm with time‑honored paintings and conventional background music. For more intimacy, check out the elevated dining with lots of privacy, also window-curtained cozy room inside.
I've been quoted many times as saying that "Flavor of India" elevates Indian cooking onto higher levels of fine cuisine with Chef/co-owner Darshan Singh adding stylized touches, creating one-of-a-kind signature dishes. He won the American Culinary 2002 Gold Excellence Award, the only Indian Chef to get this honor in Los Angeles. In addition he has two hour cooking classes, introducing students to the exciting world of Indian gourmet and family-style home cooking.
Their fabulous "all you can eat" Lunch Buffet is available every day from Monday-Friday, 11:30am to 3:00pm, ($11.95). Champagne is included on Saturday and Sundays priced at $13.95. It's a chance to taste a dozen varieties of foods, including "dal," rice, two vegetables, two chicken dishes, also salad, Raita, naan bread, chutneys, dessert, and fruit.
My favorite dinner at "Flavor" and all Indian restaurants is boneless and skinless Chicken Tikka, however, as a side-dish, it's "Malai Kofta," fresh ground vegetable balls with raisins and nuts, cooked in fresh tomato, onion, ginger, garlic, saffron and fenugreek. In addition, I always have Bhartha for the main vegetable, (tandoor baked eggplant puree). Always let your server know if you like your food mild, medium, or hot‑to‑trot!
All of all their "naan's" (breads) are delicious, made by slapping the dough against the side of the oven to bake, and in less than a minute the bread is ready to be served hot. But when the intriguing stuffings like fresh onions, garlic‑cilantro, ground chicken, or meats, are worked into the dough, it becomes an integral part of the meal, priced from $2.95‑$4.95, minced lamb. Their dips are a treat for sloshing on the hot fresh naan and "Holly Canolli" that's good stuff!
Some of the Chef's "Specials" are Duck cooked in onion, ginger, and coconut milk, served with basmati rice, also Fresh Fish of the day prepared with raisins, nuts, onion, tomato, ginger, and garlic. Other popular menu items are chicken, prepared as above, and several lamb dishes. Vegetarians enjoy the "lamb" made with soy. It's prepared with tomato, onion, ginger, garlic and freshly ground spices.
No preservatives or artificial coloring is ever used in Chef Darshan's kitchen, and the cooking is low in fat and healthy. Actually, all foods skewered in those wonderful clay tandoori ovens are desirable because the chicken, fish, and meats are fired up to 700 degrees, which can cook half a chicken in five minutes while melting the fat off. And the American Heart Association approves favorably.
Sometimes instead of a vegetable dish, I have the Vegetable Frankie, but the chicken and lamb Frankies are popular too. It's a specialty of herbed and spiced stuffings in a large homemade Indian tortilla, (burrito-style). A couple of other interesting vegetarian entrees, (and there are many) are Sagg Aloo; pureed spinach leaves and bite size potatoes sautéed with onions, ginger, and green chilis.
The "Specials of the Day" includes Chicken Korma, boneless chicken prepared with raisins, nuts, onion tomato, and ginger/garlic, served in a creamy sauce. If you like it extra spicy, try Chicken Vindaloo. It's boneless pieces of chicken and potatoes prepared in an extra spicy sauce. It can be had with shrimp as well.
Some of the Indian wines are delicious, in fact an Indian company is now selling to France!
Most of their lunch specials include four to five items, priced from $8.95 to $13.95 for the Tandoori fish lunch, served with Aloo, dal (lentils) rice, Naan, (bread) and salad. Or you may have jumbo shrimp Masala, cooked the same way.
In addition there are a dozen special vegetarian dishes. India's most popular railway snack is on the menu, called Bhel Puri, made from puffed rice, potatoes, onions, wafers, and crispy noodles, served with three chutneys, ($5.95).
Flavor of India serves a variety of savory recipes from India's rich tapestry of culture and culinary tradtions. Every dish is meticuously prepared in authentic Indian home-style, using only natural spices and ingredients. They never add preservatives or artificial coloring, and as a result their dishes are lean, low in fat, and healthy.
I believe this is one of our best Indian Restaurants.
Flavor of India, 9045 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood CA 90069; (310) 274-1715; parking on side lot and street; delivery, major credit cards accepted; open for lunch & dinner. $4.95-$17.95. You may order on-line at www.flavorofindia.com
*Star Gazing; Dolly Parton, Jason Alexander, (Sienfeld) K.D. Lang, and Jane Seymour, and this is just for starters.