Ginger chicken will be your main dish, not tandoori chicken or chicken tikka masala, although the restaurant produces very good versions of these.
Ginger is good for you, so you'll feel really good eating chicken seasoned with lots of it as well as yogurt, turmeric, cumin, mint and a paste of tamarind, paprika and lime juice. The chicken is cooked in the tandoor, and the flavor is fabulous.
A hint: if you have a cold, order The Indian Kitchen's hot ginger tea. A few sips of this bracing drink and you'll feel much better. There's an iced version too.
To accompany the chicken, ask for chat masala salad, a hearty mix of potatoes and garbanzos on a base of lettuce, tomatoes and onion. It's dressed with chat masala, yogurt raita and tamarind and mint chutneys. Fried flour chips decorate the top.
Then end with ras malai. "This is not a dessert place," says owner and executive chef Lipon (Ali) Chowdhury. Nevertheless, he makes an exceptional version of this milky sweet. Little cakes pressed from freshly made Indian cheese soak for 24 hours in a sauce composed of thickened milk--it takes 4 to 5 hours to boil it down--rosewater and pistachios.
The Indian Kitchen was once called Tandoori Nights. But it's not just a night place. There are lunch specials too. And parking is easy--90 minutes free with validation in an adjacent lot. That's a great advantage in an area where parking can be a real challenge.
The Indian Kitchen, 8165 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046. Tel: (323) 656-9000.