Sambar, Akasha Richmond’s second restaurant, blends her devotion to local farmers’ market produce with Indian food. Located in the hip restaurant district of Culver City, Sambar offers Indian food with a twist, reflecting the uniqueness of Richmond’s vision.
Sporting a popular patio area in front, the main dining room of Sambar is flanked by a large bar (they have an imaginative cocktail menu using lots of fruits and spices) and a colorful light fixture. With its high ceilings, the dining room is loud, though not overwhelmingly so, and modern in design.
We ordered a couple of beers from California microbreweries (love the Mother’s Earth Boo Koo IPA) and didn’t have to wait too long until our food arrived.
The Kerala sea bass curry featured large pieces of fresh sea bass, thick and meaty, accented with a light curry sauce. It was not too spicy, more subtle in flavor.
The naan here is a fluffier version than the stuff you would normally encounter. Free of any thin crispy areas or burnt bottoms, the turmeric-stained bread is a like a giant pillow, great for supporting toppings like green garlic and cheese. The side order of naan comes served on a paper printed with the Daily Telegraph, a nod to India’s British colonial roots.
One of the more unusual dishes is the pork shoulder vindaloo. The pork is given a porchetta treatment, so it’s rubbed with Indian spices (as opposed to the garlic, fennel and rosemary) and then roasted. The porchetta, blanketed with a large piece of naan, comes with pickled kumquats and three sauces, including a Malabar hot sauce and a wonderful mango chutney. The meat is cooked perfectly tender, with a crispy fat layer on top. It may not be authentically Indian, but it’s wonderful.
Somehow, we did not sample any of the many vegetarian options here, though they all look quite promising – something to look forward to in the future!
For those Happy Hour fans, Sambar has one daily from 4 to 7pm, with interesting bites, like masala chicken lettuce wraps and and various naans, and exotic cocktails. The lunch menu features bowls, salads, thalis, kati rolls and naanwiches using that fantastic naan. If you’re in Culver City, Sambar is definitely worth a try for lunch, Happy Hour or dinner. The food here is top-notch – it’s another winner.
Location – 9531 Culver Blvd., Culver City 90232
Website – http://www.sambarcc.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Pesco-Vegetarian Friendly – Yes
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options –Yes
Sambar will close on August 27, 2016, and reopen as an Italian restaurant. Until then, Sambar will only be offering dinner, no lunch.