Finally, Good Indian Food comes to Studio City
I wandered into 818 Masala (4141 Lankershim) on Saturday night with some apprehension. The place was empty but I was game. Lo and behold, what I got was the best Indian I've had since I moved to the SFV.
To my palate, Lal Mirch is merely okay, ditto Salomi. Gangadin has horrid service and food that is barely edible while Great India should be renamed Terrible India.
818 Masala is only 3 months old and I can only imagine that a recessionary economy isn't exactly the best time to open a new restaurant ergo, business is slow.
I really hope they can hang on until they are able to build a following because they are the worthiest Indian place I have found in quite a while.
Their saag is home-made with fresh spinach and it is a revelation to anyone who has been eating steam-table spinach paste for years. The pakoras were clearly made by hand and quite good. Their vindaloo was spicy but not so spicy as to obliterate one's ability to taste anything thereafter. In fact, everything I have tasted thus far seems to be made from scratch - even the rice is a cut above that which is served at nearly every Indian restaurant at which I've dined in LA. Oh yeah, and the saffron rice pudding is simply divine.
They don't have their beer and wine license yet but please, I beseech any Indian Cuisine fans who live or work (they are open for lunch) in the area to head to 818 Masala, it is worth a visit.
4141 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91602
I received a flyer from them with their menu which also mentioned an all-week lunch buffet. It was quite empty when my wife and I tried their buffet on a Sunday and we were told that they do much better business during the weekdays. As for the food, they had two salad dishes and about five entrees along with rice and veggie pakoras. Not being familiar with most Indian dishes, what I recognized were the chicken tandoori, chicken tikka masala, and saag. There was a somewhat spicy eggplant dish that I loved as well as a bean-based stew. My wife was worried that there was no naan but it was later brought to our table and was free-flowing. The food was surprisingly good and my wife (who is the picky eater) enjoyed it too. We haven't tried their dinner menu but plan to soon. It's good to know that we have another option for take-out besides the Curry House (or whatever it is now called) up the street.
Fantastic! Now I've got to try this place! I more or less agree with your assessment of the other Indian places you've name-checked, so it's great to see where you are coming from in your rave for this new place.
I'll be sure to post again once I've checked it out (but that might not be for a few weeks...)
Thanks again for this post -- the dramatic title especially caught my eye!
I went to 818 Masala today for lunch and tried their $8.95 lunch buffet and it was typical L.A. Indian buffet. Mostly bland food with no spice or heat. Tandoori chicken, garlic naan, yellow lentil dal and mango lassi were ok. Pakoras were tired, chicken tika masala and eggplant need some more spice/flavor! Service was excellent and I may return to try items from the regular menu.
The buffet lunch is strictly to save on labor costs, yet the product suffers so badly as to render the meal inedible.
Go only for dinner, or order from the menu at lunch, so the food will at least be fresh, made to your specifications.
That advice would be applicable to all Studio City Indian restaurants, though, not just 818 Masala.
After many disappointing Indian meals in Los Angeles, I too have found a new home at Masala 818. As Bodie says, the food is very fresh and appealing, spiced to your taste and served with pride. I don't usually like rice pudding, but their version is extra creamy and delicious. As others have said, I wouldn't bother with the buffet. That's always a bad idea. I hope that some of the NoHo Theater crowd makes it down the street to try this place.