uninspiring indian – new india grill

new india grill
1321 westwood blvd.
westwood, ca 90024

My family are all creatures of habit: we only trust establishments that have been in business for years, so we pick a few and go to the same restaurants over and over, and we always order the same things every time. i’m the black truffle of the family. I like to be the first of my friends to try a newly opened restaurant, I like to go places I haven’t been before, and I like to order things off the menu that I’ve never had. I like to test my tastebuds.

Most of the time. see, there are some times i fall into habits, and eating indian food is one of them. i go to the same 3 restaurants on the westside, and even with a 10-page menu in hand, i always order some permutation of 5 things: naan, chicken tikka masala, bengan bharatha, alu gobhi, and saag paneer. for some reason i can’t bring myself to order anything from the tandoori, or to try lamb instead of chicken in my tikka masala, and i’m sure i’ve never eaten dal. i would never substitute paratha or kulcha for naan, and i most certainly don’t order rice for myself.

I love naan that’s soft and fluffy, covered with giant charred bubbles. garlic naan is acceptable, and i have before tried kasmiri naan (filled with dried fruits and nuts) and even cheese naan, but these are all just extraneous white filler side noise that takes away from the purity of the naan. i love chicken tikka masala. complex spices and tomatoes that are (supposed to be) cooked together for hours into a deliciously complex curry. even with cream in the curry, i don’t feel as bad about my waist line, because the menu always says it’s made with “white meat” or “chicken breast.” i’ll admit though, even if tikka masala, makhni and vindaloo were all set on the table in front of me, i wouldn’t be able to tell which was which. but for some reason i always order the tikka masala. i think i just like saying it. “chicken tikka masala.”

My choice of vegetable curries are all made with my favorites. the eggplant is unrecognizable by the time bengan bharatha is all cooked down, but i know it’s eggplant. it’s no surprise that i always order saag paneer, since i love creamed spinach during the holidays. i think i’ve been to a restaurant that prepared it with tofu instead of real cheese, but that was odd. alu gobhi is made with cauliflower, but i always leave the potatoes on the plate. if i could, i would just just order gobhi.

new india grill is an “authentic” northern indian restaurant in westwood. my first sight and bite of the naan were so disappointing! the naan was too thin, too flat, and about halfway through our meal, it became leathery to the point where we couldn’t tear it; it was chewy. aside from the naan, the rest of dinner was okay, except that the chicken curries (korma, makhni, tikka masala) all seemd short by about 5 or 6 pieces of chicken. bengan bharatha and gobhi alu were nothing special, though it is worth mentioning that they didn’t overcook the alu to the point that it was falling apart, which i find many restaurants end up doing.

i guess that’s the theme for new india grill. it wasn’t terribly bad, but it wasn’t anything that stands out, either. everything was standard, kind of like everyone else. kind of like, i order the same 5 things at the same 3 indian restaurants in go to in west l.a. if it weren’t for the fact that the place is on the other side of the 405, i would have upped that to the same 4 indian restaurants.

rating out of 5: food = 3, experience = 3, overall = 3
would i go back? sure, why not? if i’m in the area.

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