Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Bland Indian, Isn't that an oxymoron?
800 Torrance Blvd
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
$20 per entree
Given my frequent visit to the South Bay, I figured I needed to acclimate myself with the available restaurants in the area. It seems that no one eats in the South Bay, at least no one eats anywhere worth mentioning. Perusing some of my favorite food blogs, I am hard-pressed to find reviews in the area. Even FoodDigger and Yelp don't seem to have very much either. Since I felt open to any cuisine that night, I decided to simply go to one of the highest ranked restaurants in Redondo on FD--Addi's Tandoor.
More after the jump...
We made a reservation a few hours before arrival at 7:15 on Saturday night. Good thing we did; every table had a little "RESERVED" by the time we got there. It put me at ease to see many regulars who seemed to know Addi personally and also to hear several British accents. Seeing as how British cuisine is devoid of anything close to flavor, they've successfully assimilated other cultures. India, of course, was no exception. Now London is actually one of the dining capitals of Europe.
Our waiter seemed polite, but it took a good ten minutes or so before he even approached our table. Although he was a nice guy, the rest of the night was also marked by negligent service as he chatted up the other tables. It's one of those situations where I would have been very satisfied if I was on the other side of the looking glass, but since I wasn't, I'll have to dock Addi's for service.
As an appetizer, I wanted to taste how spicy their spicy chicken wings can be. The dish came out colorful and visually pleasing. The interplay between the fiery red of the drummettes against a bed of yellow, orange and green bell peppers made the plate a canvas. A conveniently wrapped lime gave the chicken some last minute zest. I eagerly bit into one of the wings, only to immediately recoil. What was this? I thought I was eating Indian food but it tasted as dry as British humor. Isn't "bland Indian food" an oxymoron? Well whatever came out certain was lifeless and overcooked, such a shame considering how pretty it looked.
Starting counter-clockwise from the left: lentils, lamb khorma, vegetable makhani, basmati rice
The entrees all come either a la carte or with naan, rice, raita (yogurt)and dal makhani (stewed lentils)as a "dinner" option for $5 more. We got all the above, but only because I needed something to eat my lamb with and an order of rice is an outrageous $4.25. I don't care how special your pilaf is, that's too much to pay for rice alone.
For awhile now, I've been ordering lamb khorma at most of the Indian restaurants I go to as my standard measure of quality. It is a rich curry made of ground nuts (usually almonds or cashews), yogurt and coconut milk with other spices, making it extremely rich. As for lamb, I've always loved it. Of the less-exotic meats, it would be my favorite by far. My first reaction with the khorma at Addi's is the intense concentration of lamb flavor. The meat they used must have been an old animal, because the flavors were so concentrated. However, the meat itself was tough. Despite the lambiness, which I admired, the curry was one-note. The vegetable makhani was too sweet for my tastes. Plus I don't like tomato based dishes like makhani.
I'll have to be honest here. I didn't realize it until I got into the restaurant, but I was actually mildly congested that night. Being a little sick, I wasn't able to taste as well as usual so I can't offer a completely unbiased review of the food. I did however, bring some home with me to try again when I was feeling better. Eating it as leftovers, the food definitely tasted better, but still not as amazing as I had hoped. If each Indian household makes its own curry mixes, this is one home in which I wouldn't want to be a guest.