Monday, March 31, 2008

Electric Karma

(323) 653-6445
8222 1/2 W. Third Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Adequately Fed: $23
Lamb Tikka**
Lamb Curry***
Tandoori Platter***
Lamb Makhni***
Rice Pilaf**
(Out of Five Stars)

Electric Karma truly has an electric atmosphere. Unfortunately, the food is not quite so lively. The restaurant itself was tastefully furnished and appealing to the eye and ear. It helps to have a projector playing Bollywood music videos played to what sounded like bossa nova on the stereo. The mirrors on the walls are placed well enough to really convince you that this place is larger than it actually is. The room in back had a wonderful Buddha mural and floor seating romantically lit by candles. Along one wall is a large bar with an impressive wine selection.

Besides the decorations, I'd also give Electric Karma good marks for the pleasant service. The waiters were attentive and always refilled my water, a perk too often overlooked. Based on those factors, this place would be a great location--except I always base my reviews primarily on the food.

The menu had a large selection of foods appealing to the unexperienced Indian eater. The common selections of curries, vindaloos, and samosas are a solid staple. For an appetizer, we ordered samosas, the fried vegetarian turnover. The came only three to a plate and were not worth the $7. Among the lamb entrees, the curry was fine but nothing exceptional. The makhni is tandoori lamb in a heavy tomato saffron sauce. The sauce tasted exactly as it is described, heavy doses of tomato but again nothing wholly spectacular.

The tandoori platter, a mix of lamb, chicken, sheesh kabob, served with naan resembled an Indian fajita. It came out on a sizzling platter over a medley of grilled onions and bell peppers. The lamb tikka also came out similarly dressed. Neither were very flavorful or juicy. My lamb felt dry, definitely overcooked parts of an animal past its prime. The naan however, was fluffy and well made.

My biggest problem with this restaurant wasn't so much the quality of the food, but rather it was that they charged us extra for rice. I have never been to an Indian restaurant that served a curry dish with rice separate. How do you eat a curry without rice? Not only did we have to order rice separately, but it was also $5 a plate. Overall, this restaurant is not worth returning to. We did spend an hour or so after finishing our meal enjoying the ambiance, but at a $100 dinner for four people, I can enjoy my company elsewhere.

Recommendation: I'm just glad this is an Indian restaurant not named Taj Mahal Palace or some derivative of that. Otherwise, this place is impressively designed and a comfortable dining experience.

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