Looking for Aloo Paratha?

April 9, 2013

Salomi Restaurant http://www.salomiindian.com

5225 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood (across from the television academy)

818-506-0130

Indian and Bangladesh restaurant serving delicious traditional favorites – tandoori, korma, masala, biryani, vindaloo, naan, plus more – with a range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Open for lunch and dinner in the heart of No Ho, I was surprised to learn that Salomi had been serving since 1979. Portions are very generous and so flavorful. The attentive staff never hovers yet your glass is always quickly refilled and special requests are easily answered. Prices are very reasonable for table service menu this robust. A hidden gem, in plain sight on Lankershim.

On a Friday night after a long week of deadlines I was looking forward to seeing a friend in a production at the Actor’s Workout Studio. Grabbing a sandwich or burrito by myself after work didn’t interest me so I launched Open Table to find someplace nearby to eat. To my delight, Salomi didn’t have any reviews posted on Open Table, so the thrill of discovery whetted my appetite as much as as the promise of good Indian food.

As I walked into a lovely yet empty restaurant, greeted by several smiling faces, it looked promising. Looking over the lengthy menu, I knew I had found a new favorite. Names of dishes came rattling off my tongue – chicken korma, saag paneer, vegetable biryani, and of course aloo paratha. Iced Tea please. Did they open recently? How did they find the neighborhood?

Turns out, according to the chatty head waiter that Salomi had been open since 1979. He was oh so proud of their Yelp status, “Do write a review and you will see.” I explained that I found them on Open Table. His professed claim of how popular Salomi was simply wasn’t evidenced by butts in the seats. Where were all the loyal fans?

From my window table I could see the tall walls of the Television Academy screening rooms across the street, nestled in its driveway courtyard. Down the street was the latest Laemmle Cinema. With lunch specials this place must be a real hit in the arts community. Why was it empty?

Ordering beloved dishes that I had ordered from India’s Oven, Angara, Addi’s Tandoor, I had a good point of comparison. Would this food measure up? The spinach was not creamed but well-cooked in the saag paneer and lightly-spiced to bring out the flavors. I melted at the chicken korma! So “nummy” in taste and texture with a vibrant saffron yellow hue. The biryani tasted really, really good, a personality among rice dishes yet way too many peas or is it that I just plain don’t like them and will hand flick them out of any plate served to me…Salomi was a hit! (And the play to follow was too!)

A family arrived, kissed and hugged the staff nearest the door and sat in what sounded like their usual spot. Other people entered and were seated as my meal was enjoyed. (Upon leaving I think I even saw Hawk Koch, President of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences enjoying a conversation and meal.) So much for my thought that this place was unknown. Yet with food this good and reasonably priced, Salomi on a Friday night should be hopping!

When favorite restaurants shutter their doors in Los Angeles, which happens too frequently, it is easy to forget that neighborhood gems are still out there to be found. When word-of-mouth and local publicity don’t bring in the patrons, services like Open Table can help non-franchise dining thrive.

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