Just tried Mayura on Venice Blvd. in Culver City. It's in a mini-mall on the southwest corner of Venice Blvd. and Motor.
The owners are from Kerala in Southern India, so while they do have the usual Punjabi Northern Indian dishes that most Americans associate with Indian food (chicken tikka anyone?), they really specialize in less ubiquitous Southern Indian cuisine.
We ordered the combo special of Kerala fish curry with appam, a shrimp curry and rice.
We asked for the fish curry spicy and they asked us so many time if we were sure, stressing that it was extremely spicy, that I was afraid they going to dumb it down. But they didn't -- it was appropriately spicy for people who like spicy food (the owners came over a few times to marvel that we didn't find it too spicy, saying that even some Indian people find it too spicy). It was quite good, but the most wonderful thing were the hot puffy appam. I had never had them before and oh wow. Apparently, they are a traditional Keralan dish made with rice flour. http://www.mariasmenu.com/vegetarian/... They are somewhat similar to Ethiopian injera, but I thought much better. When they come out all hot and puffy and you dip them into the spicy curry sauce -- heaven!
The shrimp curry was also delicious - spicy, but not as spicy as the fish curry, and with beautiful fresh tasting herbs and spices. The curry just tasted much better and fresher than the curry you get at the typical neighborhood Indian restaurant (at least in my neighborhood). The rice was also 10 times better than the rice you get at your usual corner Indian restaurant.
We finished with chai, which was also delicious.
I can't wait to come back and work my way through the menu.
Dinner for two with tax and tip was $36. Frankly, it has been a long time since I had food this good and fresh-tasting for that price in Los Angeles.
P.S. They have a lot of vegetarian dishes and they say have two separate kitchens -- one regular and one strictly vegetarian.
10406 Venice Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232