I wandered into 818 Masala (4141 Lankershim) on Saturday night with some apprehension. The place was empty but I was game. Lo and behold, what I got was the best Indian I've had since I moved to the SFV.
To my palate, Lal Mirch is merely okay, ditto Salomi. Gangadin has horrid service and food that is barely edible while Great India should be renamed Terrible India.
818 Masala is only 3 months old and I can only imagine that a recessionary economy isn't exactly the best time to open a new restaurant ergo, business is slow.
I really hope they can hang on until they are able to build a following because they are the worthiest Indian place I have found in quite a while.
Their saag is home-made with fresh spinach and it is a revelation to anyone who has been eating steam-table spinach paste for years. The pakoras were clearly made by hand and quite good. Their vindaloo was spicy but not so spicy as to obliterate one's ability to taste anything thereafter. In fact, everything I have tasted thus far seems to be made from scratch - even the rice is a cut above that which is served at nearly every Indian restaurant at which I've dined in LA. Oh yeah, and the saffron rice pudding is simply divine.
They don't have their beer and wine license yet but please, I beseech any Indian Cuisine fans who live or work (they are open for lunch) in the area to head to 818 Masala, it is worth a visit.
4141 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91602