Went to Tantra Friday night. 3705 Sunset Boulevard, at Edgecliffe Drive 323-663-TANTRA
A little worried about eating there because of the bland New Times Review on Thursday but I was prepared to give it a fair shot. We first had a drink at the bar which is equal in size to the restaurant. It is dominated by a DJ booth and two flat panel screens showing old black and white Bollywood movies. Great touch. Full bar, some signature cocktails. Our party had some "special" mixed drinks which were deemed okay. Nothing particularly good or exotic. To quote my husband, "This is no Tabla." I had a glass of white wine which was forgettable at best.
They lost our reservation for a party of six but did manage to seat us about 20 minutes late. (But not without telling us they needed our table exactly at 10:00 p.m. for a reservation. Er- you mean the reservation you didn't lose?) The design of the restaurant is pretty, even ambitious, but very loud. The bus boys might have been told to rush us-- or maybe the problem is endemic. Four plates were lost when we still had food on the table. And it was only 9:25 p.m.
The wine and beer list was extremely short. Favorite Indian beers were generally not available. Only two white wines by the glass. No rose, either, which was disappointing. Dry rose makes a wonderful match with Indian food.
As for the food, yawn. There was a certain emphasis on fish and veg-friendly food but it didn't translate to anything exciting. Bill was about $45 per person, which included one drink.
Scallops in curry gloop. Everyone seemed to enjoy it but I thought it was awful. Samosas. Okay.
The vegetables were best. Saag Paneer. Very nice, fresh-tasting dish. Large chunks of paneer with an excellent texture. There was also an option to have this with tofu. Began Bartha. Again, a nice fresh tasting dish. Naan, two measly pieces to the order, alright.
Catfish curry. Rogan Josh. Pepper Chicken. All very mild in both seasoning and heat, even though we had asked for them to be spicy.
I appreciate what they are trying to do (Indian food in a stylish setting with a good bar and music) but the food really must be better.