Thursday, March 12, 2009

India's Oven: Recovery Comforts of Eggplant and Carbs

On account of having been both sick and poor, I’ve been eating in for the most part of last week. I’ve largely recovered from the former but I still suffer seriously from the latter disease – that is, poverty. So, for tonight’s dinner extravaganza, the code word was – you guessed it – “cheap.”

Since “cheap” and “ethnic” are basically the Jack and Jill of the food world, we opted for Indian food tonight. A five minute drive brought us to India’s Oven – a no-frills (but incredibly well-lit) eatery sandwiched between a Starbucks and a laundromat. Being a natural eggplant-ophile, I was drawn to the Bengan Bharta ($6.95) like a junkie to heroi…uhm, I mean, like a child to candy. I also ordered a side garlic naan to scoop up that deliciousness ($2.25).

(Never-ending bowl of bengan bharta and garlic naan)

Food portions were large and in charge though they don’t really look like much at first. I was totally thinking, “pshaw, I can finish that Bengan Bharta in two mouthfuls” but I spook WAAAAY too soon. I ended up packing more than half my meal to go. That’s right – massive loss in eating cred. Alyssa and Anj both got one of the combo meals ($10.95 and $11.95) which consisted of six or seven different dishes served on a large silver platter.

In terms of taste, India’s Oven is decent. Food that is supposed to be comforting but not life-affirming. The bengan bharta wasn’t God’s gift to man but, all the same, I couldn’t stop eating it. The flavors could have been stronger – but, then again, I’m still recovering from a cold and stuffy nose so the taste of everything has been a lot blander to me than usual. The garlic naan was served warm and toasty and was flecked with finely chopped roasted garlic. Good stuff. However, personally when it comes to naan, I like mine to be thick, chewy and fluffy (the bread at Jasmine Market rules here) and India’s Oven’s bread was a little too thin and crispy for me to go ga-ga over. Now, if that naan had been a pizza crust…THAT would be very good times. I did try some of Anj’s malai naan ($3.50) and that was really damn good. Warm and stuffed with semi-melted cheese to give it an extra chewy edge. Mmmmmmm. Awesome! I also took a sip of Alyssa’s mango lassi ($2.50) and that too was pretty kickass.

None of us finished our meal and we abandoned our initial plan of grabbing yogurt at the Bigg Chill after dinner. Service was nice but a bit awkward and strange (i.e. very awkward and strange). All in all, I’m a happy customer. India’s Oven has fed me well tonight, will feed me well tomorrow with leftovers, and has also been a good friend to my wallet.

FOOD: 3.5/5
SERVICE: 3.5/5



1896 Westwood Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90025

(310) 475-3900

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