It was a birthday celebration for a healthy-foodie friend last night, and he chose Paru's Vegetarian Indian Restaurant on Sunset. My second experience there in 11 years - probably my last.
Place: Paru's, Tuesday 9/19 6:30 PM
Myself + 2 guests
Ratings in brief:
Ambiance - B-
Service - C-
Food (Taste) - C
Food (Presentation) - B-
Wine/Drinks - C+
Price - B-
Overall Experience - C
Words to the wise - don't venture out to Paru's before 7 PM, as parking is a nightmare. That aside, once we meandered in, I was reminded of how decorative the space is - though not at all meant for tall folks (myself among them). Lanterns and Indian lights hanging from every rafter - my clumsy self had many-an-obstacle to avoid on my way to the back corner booth.
We were greeted immediately - warm and friendly smiles all around. They were very fast to take our drink and food orders, and the menu had several yummy sounding selections. So far, so good.
Condiments - I love South Indian food for it's spice and aromatic flavors. Chutneys are a fav - unfortunatley, those they served us with the papadam were bland. Slightly sweet/tangy, but very little flavor. Bummer.
Drinks - we were not in the mood for alcohol, so we all opted for Chai Tea. This was OK - not all that flavorful, but not bad. The selection of other options was fine - nothing to get excited over.
Appetizers - we tried the Samosas. Overcooked, more outside crust than inside goodness - not impressive.
Entrees - each of us ordered a variety plate of goodies, so we could share share share. I had the Tanjore Double, and my companions ordered similar multi-item plates.
Without describing every last item(think Dosas, Paratha, Poori, Sambar (gravy), Uppuma, Uttapam, Chickpeas, Raita, soup, etc.), I must confess that everything tasted the same. Fried bread with starch - over and over again. Different textures, yes, but no flavor - none. I admit that I did not emphasize how much I wanted heat in the food, but I would have been happy with just TASTE. I was so disappointed in our meal.
My companions didn't comment either way, but we didn't eat much, and that said it all.
To make matters worse, once the food arrived, we were sorely ignored. Almost an hour later, I flagged down our waiter and asked for to-go boxers. Fifteen minutes later, they cleared our table and brought the check - our food got tossed, and nobody objected. Likewise, those tiny cups of Chai we downed in the opening minutes? Never refilled. Never had a chance to ask.
Price - with 3 teas, 3 samosas, and 3 entrees - $56 before tip. Yes, I agree, that IS very affordable.
I really, really want to love Paru's - I am a recovering, but still very supportive, once-vegetarian, and I am thrilled to live in a city with such variant options. But one cannot ride on a theme alone. I can only trust that this was an off night for Paru's - they've been there for decades, and the place was indeed full - so yes, I concur that it might be me :)
Paru's Vegetarian Indian Restaurant
5140 Sunset Blvd. (near Normandie)