I am a reasonable sort of fellow. I am. And one thing that many of my friends know about me is that I am a lover of Indian food. Love the stuff. I've been known to brave evening traffic to Artesia on a whim, and for someone from Echo Park who's not especially fond of the freeways, that's saying something. So when I heard about India Spices and Sweets opening in Los Feliz, it was like Christmas-come-early.
Well. There is alot going on there. There is a grocery store, a non-food goods store, a video store and a food cafe. Maybe more, but that's what I saw. There seemed to be only one cashier at a central "paying station", which is also where you order. The menu is posted on a reader board above him and nothing is explained. Meaning, you need to have a fairly solid knowledge of north and south Indian food before ordering. The couple ahead of me said they were very hungry and the gentleman wrote down their order, choosing for them. I like that kind of advising personally although I know my Indian food, I'm guessing, more than the general public.
After ordering, you take your receipt across the room to the steam table counter, separated by a glass, where the food is clearly visible and where you will be served. There seemed to be a group of customers hovering while on the other side of the glass, there was NOBODY serving food. There was no sense of who had been there first, who had receipts and didn't, etc. The food looked like it had been sitting awhile. Often, Indian food can look pretty cold-stewy but then taste fine. But this food looked especially unappetizing in that sitting-for-hours kind of way. I saw one woman bringing out a masala dosa from the back where a kitchen must exist and hold it up for this group (of which I was part of). Three people raised their hands, and she handed it to the first person nearest to her, although I think one of the quiet guys further back had been there longer. It was madness. Seriously, there were twenty people waiting, not to mention the others mindlessly ordering at the register. Plus there were several people buying large bags of rice and renting videos and asking whether the chapati were fresh. And from what I could tell, in the entire place, there were two people working. And the place is VAST.
After a half-hour with not even a glance in my direction(and with me an the SO, there were TWO of us!), we left. When we approached the cashier, he shrugged and handed us back our money in that nonchalant way that said we weren't the first people to have done this.
For me to walk away from Indian food, it was terrible. Maybe they will improve the service part of the place. Perhaps early in the day when there are fewer people and fresher food, this might be a great place.
If anyone had a great experience, I'd love to hear about it.