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Restaurants & Bars

Pickles (Indian Hyderabadi restaurant) - second excellent experience!

suvro | Jul 21, 201105:11 PM    

I have written about my take on LA area Indian restaurants before:
Tanzore: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/778774
several Indian restaurants in Little India in Cerritos: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/758763
another large list: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/642838

However, I could find no mention of this restaurant in a not so remote location - on South Street near 605.

My first visit was on Easter Sunday this year when they had a large Sunday brunch buffet. My sister-in-law suggested this place. We had a large family gathering there - 17 altogether. While the buffet was good, it was the standard north Indian fare - baingan bharta, chicken tikka masala, daal makhni, etc. My sister-in-law ordered a special dish (she had lived in Hyderabad before she came to USA) called Kottu Paratha (it is on their southern delights menu) - layered paratha with cooked vegetables - image at http://cooking4allseasons.blogspot.co...
From that I could tell that their regional specialties must be quite unique and good.

Yesterday I took a colleague of mine for dinner, and it confirmed what I had discerned in that one dish!
We started off with a large bottle of Kingfisher beer - they had 5 different large bottles of Indian beers - that itself is rare - my other favorite place Ambala has only 2.
To go with this we ordered the “Pickles” Sizzle Tandoor Sampler which had two different preparations of chicken (one green and one white), lamb, fish, shrimp, mushroom & paneer, served on a sizzler plate. In contrast to Tanzore, this was a great value with very generous portions of all the ingredients. The tastes were different - the non-veg items were very succulent, and mushroom and paneer were also done just right, and not overcooked.
Then we had the Andhra eggplant Curry / Ennai Katharikkai (Tamil Style) - which is baby eggplants cooked in rich sesame and peanut sauce with herbs & spices. We had asked them to keep the spice level amped up - and while all items were spicy, they were not burning hot. This dish had the small round eggplants cooked to a lovely consistency like bagara baigan - but in a very Andhra inflected sauce - you won't find this at other Indian restaurants in LA.
The next dish was Goat Chettinad / - mutton cooked in a unique flavor of fresh ground masala. Chettinad cuisine from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu is gaining in popularity, though most are imposters. It turns out that while the owner is from Hyderabad, the chef is from Tamil Nadu - and the spicing of this dish was also very unique. My only complaint of the night was they did not have good sized pieces of the mutton - there were some, but more bones than meat. The flavor was superb!
Hyderabad is known for its dum pukht biryanis - and the one we chose was Nako Biryani (Natu Kodi) - (Countryside Hen). We asked our server what the difference was between their chicken biryani and this - and all he could say was this used country hen rather than broiler chicken. I thought perhaps they were using free range chicken - but nonetheless, the taste was excellent. There were several large tender pieces of chicken, which tasted very much like the farmer's chickens we get in India - not the flabby watery ones we get here in the supermarkets. The rice grains were perfectly separated from one another, and with the had boiled egg, this was the best biryani I have had in a restaurant. It was better than the Hyderabadi biryani we usually get at our local favorite Nirvana in Arcadia!
The other thing that has won me over is roomali roti - the paper thin (roomal means handkerchief) rotis are SOOO much better than the naans that whenever I get this, I will order it instead. At Ambala, they owner makes it even though it is not on the menu, but last time he complained it was a lot of work! Here it is on their menu!!!!
The main dishes come with complimentary bowls of rice. The food was a bit overkill for the two of us, so I brought along a nice sized doggy bag with me (for consumption tonight with the lamb korma I am cooking!).
While their prices are not cheap compared to Chinese restaurants (our items were priced $10.99 to $15.99) I felt it was very good value, compared to most other Indian restaurants in that price range.
Unfortunately, it was not being patronized by people - the restaurant was quite empty during the time we were there last night. Only 2 other tables were occupied. It has a very nice ambiance, so that is not it. I think the word of mouth has not gotten out - I don't know how long it has existed.

Here is their website - http://www.picklesindiancuisine.com/ - and their address is 11688 South St., Artesia, CA 90701

If you try it out, please write about your experience, good and bad.
Happy eating!

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