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New! Encino's Anarbagh Restaurant Grand Opening with Free Food Sunday

Posted By Karen Young On August 26, 2010 @ 12:39 am In Dinner,Eat,Featured,Food,Indian,Lunch,My Daily Find,Restaurants,spotlight | No Comments

BY JUDITH A. PROFFER

For years the fun and funky Nirvana on Rooftop was the Indian restaurant by which I measured all others. The kind of place that made me weak in the knees at the very mention of its name. With a Central Park view that had me gawking, a menu that had me salivating and a clientele that had me, well, gawking some more, it was an essential stop on any visit to New York.

Until it closed.

Tandoori Shrimp Photos: Judith A. Proffer

My love affair with Indian cuisine had pretty much been a paneer draught ever since. From Santa Monica to Studio City, I sampled Indian fare in search of nirvana. Sure there was a decent curry here. A tasty naan there. And even a darling samosa every now and again. But for me, there was nothing that could compare to that Central Park South gem.

Until Anarbagh opened in an unassuming strip mall at the corner of Ventura Blvd. and Louise in Encino this month. Yes, the very same center that houses CVS, Starbucks and an optometrist, offers some of the tastiest Indian fare this side of the Arabian Sea.

Mixed Naan

For nearly two decades the Anarbagh family has been serving up spicy fare and warm hospitality at its Woodland Hills location. Named Best Indian restaurant by the LA Times and Daily News, they aim to replicate the West Valley popularity and favorable reviews with their Encino outpost. Word of mouth seems to be spreading…business is already thriving even before its official Grand Opening celebration this week-end.

Booths line the narrow space, service is remarkably swift and outdoor dining is available to those not turned off by the parking lot frontage. No Central Park views here. It’s all about the food.

And the secret to Anarbagh’s success is twofold. Everything is made to order. And you select the spice quotient: very mild, medium, hot or very hot.

Aloo Matar

Their Mixed Naan ($2.95 for a traditional bread with garlic, onion, basil and onion) is light, tender, delicate and richly flavorful. They also offer a Parmesan Naan ($2.95), a Chicken Naan ($3.95), and a Keema Naan with lamb and spices ($3.95). Peshwari is a dessert like Naan, but with almond, coconut and raisins ($3.95). For a real treat, sample the Naan with some of their sweet and savory mango chutney.

You may crave Pakoras, Tikkas or Bhaje, but for me the true measure of Indian appetizers is how the samosa stands up. Quite literally. Their cone, like vegetarian variety ($3.95), is an erect beauty stuffed with a mildly spiced potato and pea combination. The crisp turnover and the mellow mixture is heavenly.

The menu is extensive and filled with vegetarian, chicken, lamb and seafood dishes. The Altoo Matar (a hearty dish of potatoes cooked with peas in a curry sauce) can be ordered a la carte ($9.95) and even the mild version has a nice kick to it. The Eggplant Bharta ($9.95) does justice to the eggplant, not overpowering but enough for a flavorful dance of the palate.

Samosas

Tandoori sizzlers include chicken ($13.95 for a dinner with soup or salad, rice, hot tea or coffee), and a wonderful sea bass ($17.95 for the complete dinner) that is marinated in mild herb spices and baked in the clay tandoor. Soup selections include the Mulligatawny, a lentil and mixed vegetable variety that satisfies.

Chef specials include Balti Fare (chicken, fish, lamb or shrimp from $12.95-$14.95 a la carte and $15.95-$17.95 for the full dinner) cooked in a wok like pan with a blend of herbs, spices and green peppers.

Desserts feature the delicate but not too sweet baklava ($2.95) and the satisfying Kulfi – an Indian ice cream made from pistachio nut, banana and cream , $2.95).

Mulligatawny Soup

Anarbagh celebrates its Grand Opening this Sunday August 29 with a free food tasting from 4 to 9 p.m.

Anarbagh 17312 Ventura Blvd. Encino. (818) 907-7100. Dine in, carry out, delivery and catering. Lunch and dinner Monday – Sunday. Lunch specials from $6.95, Dinner specials from $10.95.

Judith A. Proffer is Vice-Chair of entertainment/media company Meteor 17, where she oversees creative development for film, television & literary projects and charitable initiatives. Co-founder and former Executive Editor of Sun Community Newspapers, she was publisher of LA Weekly and OC Weekly and is currently writing “How to Love Your Dog: A Timeless Compendium of Information and Inspiration” for her Huqua Press.

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