The Indian dining scene on the Westside just got a boost with the opening of Agra Indian Kitchen, says Lee by the Sea. The restaurant is unrelated to Silver Lake’s Agra.
Lamb vindaloo is authentically Goan—fiery, vinegary, and impossibly complex, without a speck of tomato. “Each bite tastes a little different and the spices bloom in your mouth.” Chicken saag is smooth without having been puréed, and surprisingly light. Gentle spicing underlies the spinach, and the chicken is good-quality breast meat. Malai kofta comes in a decadently rich cream sauce with moderate spicing, good enough to eat with rice long after the veggie-packed koftas are a memory. Lamb pasanda also is deeply flavored and intricately spiced, a satisfying dish.
Mango lassi and masala chai are well made, fresh, and pleasant.
The restaurant is small, with six booths and two tables, not fancy, but clean. However the overall level of food is remarkable. The chef is from London, and makes his own kulfi (Indian ice cream) as well.
There’s a new chef in the kitchen at the Clay Oven in Sherman Oaks and he/she rocks, says mar52. There’s a nice spread on the lunch buffet—two chicken dishes, a lamb dish, three veg curries, salad, two desserts, and chai—and each dish is different and tasty.
Afraid of the steam table? Don’t be, says Lee by the Sea. If anything, the sauced “curry” dishes benefit from their time there, the flavors blending and more fully infusing the meat and vegetables. But pass on crispy things like samosas and pakoras—the steam table only saddens them.
Clay Oven [San Fernando Valley]
14611 1/2 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks