You'd be in Mahan in Alhambra, where this tamarind martini is the top cocktail. It's composed of French vodka, lemon juice, freshly squeezed tamarind liquid, a dash of cayenne, Himalayan salt and sugar.
"It's a sipper. You drink it throughout a meal," says Sage Sharma, son of owners Anil and Poonam Sharma. At 22, Sage is adding fresh new touches to the restaurant, which opened 15 years ago.
The only Indian spot in the midst of Chinese and Japanese restaurants, Mahan could have played it safe with a standard menu. Instead, it has developed specialties that you won't find anywhere else.
Talk about unconventional--the idea for mango chicken tikka (above) came to Anil Sharma in a dream. To make the dream real, he worked out a spicy, tart, sweet sauce using fresh mango, canned pulp and sweet mango pickle. The result is as dreamy as the origin.
Mozzarella is in the stuffing of these crispy mushrooms. Coated with chickpea flour batter, they're topped with crisp strands of sev--chickpea flour in another form. The swirls are house-made tomato sauce.
Mahan's gobi (cauliflower) manchurian (above) shows how exciting Indo-Chinese flavors can be. The sweet-sour, spicy sauce includes vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and a dash of Chinese chili paste with ginger and garlic.
Not everything is showy. Malai kofta (above) looks like lumps in a plain orange sauce. But the sauce is good enough to eat by itself, like soup. It's creamy and rich with ground almonds and walnuts. The kofta are vegetable dumplings.
Good food isn't the only attraction. The restaurant is vegan friendly, has a daily lunch buffet, and parking is free.