On the Issue of Outsourcing – India’s Oven in Westwood

india's oven, westwood

India’s Oven
1896 Westwood Blvd, just south of Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
310.475.3900
www.newindiasoven.com

Several months ago, the big battles in business were about…outsourcing. To be quite honest, I don’t even remember what the arguments were about sending work to less expensive labor overseas. Taking jobs away from Americans? Keeping bottom lines in check? Back and forth, the debate waged on. It still wages on with full force, but is overshadowed by more recent world events.

My company outsources a large proportion of technical work to India, and I have to be quite honest, from my standpoint, outsourcing to India is brilliant. Partnering with a large firm in India means that many Indian consultants come in and out of our office from month to month. And what does that mean? I get to eat Indian food and learn about the cuisine all the time, especially since there are quite a few Indian restaurants on the Westside, and in particular, Culver/Palms. Hey, what’s this? And not two minutes later, I can get a detailed dissertation on the finer points of biryani (basmati rice dish). Or a comparison study of thin and chewy vs. thick and fluffy naan. Or the detailed process behind making chutney, kachumber (cucumber pickle), and raita (cucumber yogurt dip).

A few weeks ago, several of us made a trip to try India’s Oven up in Westwood, a bit of a hike when places like Annapurna Vegetarian and Asian Kitchen are within walking distance of the office. I’ve been to a restaurant called India’s Oven over in my neighborhood on Wilshire, but had not heard of this one, and do not know if they are related.

India’s Oven on Westwood is tiny – about the size of a very large cubicle. There are maybe three tables in the middle of the room and three or fours booth-like tables pushed up against the walls on two sides. The interior is dim, with dark but colorful walls, and the room lit only by natural light and the heat lamps on the buffet during lunch hours.

india's oven naan
naan-disclosure agreement

The servers brings a basket of naan to the table. I wonder if two pieces will be enough for the five of us, but at least I’m happy that the naan is left whole instead of already cut. The naan is good, but India’s Oven will not be the end of my quest for fluffy naan. The servers refresh our basket of naan a few times throughout our lunch.

The buffet is small, so a little awkward for five of us in our group plus a few others in the restaurant to crowd around it. But we all eventually take our turn and return to the table with full plates.

india's oven lunch buffet
two cycles around the buffet

It’s nothing unusual. There’s chicken curry, though I’m not exactly certain what kind. As orange and creamy as it was, I might guess chicken korma, especially since it didn’t have as much tangy heat as I would expect from say, vindaloo, and it wasn’t as red or tangy as tikka masala. I sure sound like I know what I’m talking about – LOL! ;) The chicken was very tender, the curry sauce was flavorful, but like I said, it just didn’t have the heat I was looking for. We asked for some hot sauce. You mean chutney?” Yes, but I’m the only lunatic that used it.

india's oven pakoras
pakoras – deep fried potato croquettes

The other items on the buffet were good, but nothing made me stand up on a chair and declare my love. I only needed to taste the dal, curry-like yellow lentils, and chana masala, chickpeas in a mildly tangy yellowish curry, as I was more interested in making sure to get a taste of everything. Both legume dishes were just okay, but the vegetables were better. There was something like palak or saag paneer, but without the paneer, which was fine with me since I sometimes pick out the paneer anyway. Gobi aloo is a usual order of mine because I love cauliflower, so I was excited about the vegetables that also included green peas and carrots. They were cooked to tender without being mushy, and the flavor was satisfying. The best dish of the buffet were pakoras, sort of like little flattened mashed potato croquettes that I think had some sort of batter coating, and deep-fried. With a dollop of chutney, I was glowing.

India’s Oven also offered gulab jamun in the buffet, one of my favorite Indian sweets. I could have eaten a dozen of those tiny fried balls of cheese soaked in honey and rose water syrup, but I held back. Didn’t want to scare co-workers with my gluttony. Besides, I still had to go back to the office to work, and food coma is a dangerous side effect of overeating Indian food.

Overall, the food was good, and the space is clean and a little more modern-looking than the India’s Oven I had been to on Wilshire. However, the food doesn’t necessarily stand out from other Indian restaurants. It’s a longer drive from the office in Culver City than other Indian places that are just up the street on Venice or Washington Boulevards, and a longer drive than Wilshire or Santa Monica Boulevards from home. If I’m in Westwood, then India’s Oven is a better bet than New India Grill (still have yet to try Ambala Dhaba on that strip, though), and of course, I’m still partial to All India Café.

Don’t know what’s next on our Indian restaurant project plan with our guests from overseas, but I can’t wait. Someone needs to tell that Lou Dobbs about gulab jamun the next time he goes on a rant about outsourcing. :)

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Xericx July 23, 2005 at 1:42 am

i’ve been here before. Its ok….I like All India Cafe’s lunch buffet….Shershah in the Marina has a pretty good one too.

BTW: You took pictures of the Pakoras in the steam table? hah. You have no shame! :D

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2 NS July 23, 2005 at 6:15 am

Great review — I particularly enjoyed the line about Lou Dobbs and gulab jamun!

By the way, my guess on the chicken dish you had is that it was Chicken Makhani (or Makhanwala) — which has a mild butter and tomato sauce. Chicken korma theoretically shouldn’t be that orange — unless somebody got really carried away with the tomato sauce! Oh, and the batter on the pakoras is made of chickpea flour – just in case you were wondering!

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3 sarah July 24, 2005 at 4:08 pm

why, thank you, ben! it may take me a bit of time before i build up the courage to get anywhere that requires a plane flight – haha! there’s a restaurant near my office called asian kitchen that is supposedly more pakistani than indian – do you know of any purely pakistai restaurants in l.a.?

xericx: yes, i think i do love all india cafe a litte more. i also just dried ambala dhaba a few nights ago – and i still like all india better ;)

ns: i like chicken makhni, too! it probably was that, and you’re right, chicken korma is almost yellowish, huh? they all taste awesome to me, though :) and thanks for the info about the pakoras :)

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4 Anonymous July 25, 2005 at 7:29 pm

Yo,

You should try Al-Noor’s in Hawthorne for some authentic Pakistani cuisine … it’s the shizzle.

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5 deccanheffalump July 28, 2005 at 1:32 pm

“food coma is a dangerous side effect of overeating Indian food.”

Right on sarah.Thats why it is advisable (eheh)to lie down after eating. Immediately is preferable. Like they do at roadside dhabas along the highways in India. Have your roti , dal fry and chicken makhani and lie down on the charpoy ( four legs.i.e.jute string bed) set out for comatic diners.
Now that is what I call civilized.
(This – from the land of the outsourced.)

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6 sarah July 29, 2005 at 6:02 pm

ah, hello deccanheffalump! (love all the gorgeous indian delicious things on your site ;) )

i am learning about “dhabas” these days. a fellow co-worker loves to explain to me what many of the words mean. next up – a restaurant called ambala dhaba, and he told me what the words mean. :)

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7 City Elf August 1, 2005 at 7:12 pm

I love India’s Oven! Granted, it was better when it used to be Planet Indus, but my fiance and I have been going since it opened a few years ago, so maybe it’s just habit at this point. The chicken tikka masala used to be the best. I think the India’s Oven on Wilshire, while less attractively decorated, has much better food now. You should try Tantra in Silver Lake.

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8 Anup Sugunan January 15, 2007 at 11:38 pm

Great blog. I’ve been to so many Indian restuarants all over LA, SD, NYC, Paris, even in India and India’s Oven on Wilshire (not sure about the other India’s oven as they have different ownerships as of late) is THE BEST. My favorite is the chicken tikka masala.

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9 obackoffice June 21, 2007 at 6:33 am

For outsourcing chat, email or back-office support

If you are considering offshoring your processes, or would just like to know more about the various BPO / KPO services that can be outsourced to us in India, kindly contact us and our customer service representatives will get back to you soon.

For outsourcing chat, email or back-office support, visit the website: http://www.outsourcebackoffice.com

Reply

10 obackoffice June 21, 2007 at 6:33 am

For outsourcing chat, email or back-office support

If you are considering offshoring your processes, or would just like to know more about the various BPO / KPO services that can be outsourced to us in India, kindly contact us and our customer service representatives will get back to you soon.

For outsourcing chat, email or back-office support, visit the website: http://www.outsourcebackoffice.com

Reply

11 obackoffice June 21, 2007 at 7:15 am

For outsourcing chat, email or back-office support

If you are considering offshoring your processes, or would just like to know more about the various BPO / KPO services that can be outsourced to us in India, kindly contact us and our customer service representatives will get back to you soon.

For outsourcing chat, email or back-office support, visit the website: http://www.outsourcebackoffice.com

Reply

12 web January 23, 2009 at 10:42 am

There is a lot of competition in outsourcing software development, as there are many firms across the globe catering to clients looking for outsourcing their work. What is good is that the takers can choose the best from the lot. http://www.infysolutions.com.

Reply

13 web January 23, 2009 at 10:42 am

There is a lot of competition in outsourcing software development, as there are many firms across the globe catering to clients looking for outsourcing their work. What is good is that the takers can choose the best from the lot. http://www.infysolutions.com.

Reply

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