You can always count on your trusty neighborhood Indian restaurant to offer most of Northern India’s greatest hits (baigan bartha, butter chicken, dal, spinach paneer) and several favorites from the south (Thali platters with sambar and masala dosa wraps). However, aerospace industry executive-turned-restaurateur Mihir Lad and veteran chef Sagar Ghosh get their well-traveled and experienced Los Angeles foodie customers want an Indian dining experience they won’t find at regular spots. What makes Arth Bar + Kitchen a “destination”? Think Kolkata fish fry, Sexy Fries (Ghosh’s spin on poutine topped with curry, green chutney, tomato gravy and mayo), Old Monk Drunken Wings (rum-infused chicken wings), and the addictive LAAL Mirch Ka Paneer Tikka. And that’s just the appetizer selection.
You can also expect the unexpected when it comes to the mains and curry dishes (partnered with naan, baked in the visible tandoori oven right before your eyes). Crowd pleaser palak paneer is reworked into Palak Paneer Ke Kofte (spinach-coated paneer balls in sauce), Baghare Baingan (where the eggplant is deep-fried and lavished in peanut sesame gravy), Butter Chicken Dilli Wala (Tandoor-cooked boneless chicken in creamy tomato sauce), and some lamb dishes that will be completely new to you no matter what you’ve tried elsewhere (Lamb Kosha, slow-cooked Australian lamb leg in onion tomato masala, and Kashmiri-style lamb Yakhni Biriyani with yogurt sauce).
The simple but well-curated bar turns out several beautiful, flavor-forward cocktails with just the right amount of Southeast Asian ingredients (in comparison to “exotic” cocktails in other places that “try too hard” with too much sweetness or hot spice that detract from even the best quality spirits). There is also a nice selection of zero-proof cocktails enabling health conscious and non-drinking customers to enjoy happy hour or cocktail/food pairings and still get some health benefits. For example, the Indian Detox blends ginger, honey, turmeric, lemon, orange juice and ginger beer, while the Tamarind Blast fits its name through its mix of tamarind, red chili powder, cumin, Himalayan salt and soda water.
Arth’s open concept extends from the kitchen to the front of the house and forward into a charming, sidewalk-grazing patio. Under Lad’s direction, the interiors have a decidedly minimalist feel rather than a big splash of color through artwork referencing Hindu motifs or Bollywood cinema. The decorative items are mostly confined to a wall next to the bar placed in a collage-like fashion, that nod to Indian ideas and traditions in a more subtle way. Clearly, Lad’s and Ghosh’s intention is for cocktails and food to be front and center, and beautifully framed without too many distractions.
Arth Bar + Kitchen
9531 Culver Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
tel 424 603 4155
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