On my way to Sundara I was, for some reason, expecting to walk into a bright, colorful Indian world with authentic Indian music, Indian servers, be seated on pillows embroidered with elephants and not given silverware to eat with. I’m not sure why. Maybe because that’s what I really wanted… or maybe because I recently watched “Along Came Polly.”
Instead my accomplice and I walked into something a tad more subtle: cream colored walls with ordinary wood tables and booths, a couple photos of India on the walls, music from The Doors playing overhead, and a warm welcome from… three white guys?
All right, so it was nothing like I was expecting, but I wasn’t fazed. This place had incredibly high reviews online and a single “$” next to its name on Yelp, so I had hope for what counts most: the food.
Their menu is short and sweet. It features three appetizers, three options for traditional curries (and a choice of chicken, veggies, or paneer, a cheese), two vegetarian curries, three chutneys, Tandoori chicken and four options of Naan bread. The overwhelming majority of online reviewers said that the Tikka Masala curry (tomato-based curry with lemon, ginger, herbs and spices) was amazing, so my accomplice or because the spicier the better with chicken. We also ordered a side of garlic and cilantro Naan bread thanks to a recommendation by our waiter.
It took less than ten minutes for our feast to arrive. As soon as I saw the absolute glory of the Naan bread I dug in and holy cow––warm, soft, chewy, buttery bread with a touch of garlic and the slightest hint of cilantro, an herb I usually detest. With the Naan bread being only $2.25 per serving, I’d go in just to order that again.
Both curries (served with a side of rice) were delicious and very different. The Vindaloo was extremely spicy (which I loved) and was an explosion of exotic flavors (definitely cinnamon, turmeric, and cumin). The chicken was fall-apart tender and quality cuts, nothing gross. I must admit though, the Tikka Masala was my favorite. The sauce was gorgeous: rich, creamy and had a hint of spice. It almost reminded me of creamy tomato soup, but much more flavorful. It went perfectly over vegetables.
With both curries coming in at $9.50 and the Naan at $2.50, our bill came just under $23, or about $11.50 each, plus tip, which is rightly deserved. Not only was the food great, but the two servers we talked to were very kind and checked up on us even with a big party going on. We ate less than half of our filling meal and were stuffed, leaving plenty to take for leftovers.
Sundara Indian Cuisine
1774 Sunset Cliffs Blvd
4-10pm (Closed Tuesday)
Dine-In, Takeout, Delivery