SAMBAR was recently opened in June from prominent chef and owner Akasha Richmond. What does SAMBAR mean? Their namesake dish is a soupy Southern Indian stew made from toor dal, onions, spices, vegetables and tamarind. They named their restaurant SAMBAR because it’s one of the first Indian dishes chef Akasha ever tried! SAMBAR will showcase the diversity of Indian cuisine with an invigorating array of clean, bright flavors and choices. Authentic flavors, ingredients and techniques are always an essential part of Akasha’s cooking process. Akasha has witnessed the full spectrum of Indian cuisine on the west coast having come to L.A. in the 80s working in the kitchen at The Golden Temple restaurant, which catered to health-conscious Hollywood elites. This former chef to Michael Jackson (Akasha went on tour with Michael for years acting as his kitchen confidant) traveled to India twice and explored the Indian gurus stateside for R&D in preparation for the opening of SAMBAR.
The country is seeing a wave of more progressive Indian concepts that are opening across the country, whether chef-driven, or with attention on distinct ingredients. They define this as a new way to cook with authentic masalas (spice blends), with reinvention of certain dishes. They are taking masala and adding to everyday western dishes like chicken wings, burgers and roasted pork. Often times people square Indian food to heavy, or greasy but the SAMBAR Menu is a modern take on Indian cuisine emphasizing an Indian inspired collection of dishes from small plates and snacks. They have the softest and freshest house made Turmeric Naan and their chicken, whether the Tandoori British Raj Chicken or English Chicken Tikka, are all made with organic chicken. They buy from Farmer’s Market anywhere from 4-5 days a week. If you have gluten or dairy issues, SAMBAR offers many dishes that are made with goat cheese or goat yogurt along with almost half their menu happens to be gluten-free! They offer a variety of curries along with an array of seasonal chutneys. My absolute favorite was the stone fruit chutney but nothing tops the cauliflower and onion pakoras that are fancy versions of onion rings with chickpea batter (again gluten free) served with a tamarind-date chutney. No one leaves SAMBAR without ordering the Sevpurt Chaat (teff puris, green mango, avocado, red onion, pomegranate- mint chutney, and tamarind chutney) what does this all mean? Our take on it was an Indian nacho, a little bite size snack that is refreshing, yet has a zesty kick and the perfect crunch.
Luxe Tip: Happy Hour Every Day From 4pm-7pm with 1/2 off all draft beers and 1/2 off all wines by the glass. We suggest the happy hour snacks: samosas, Mississippi masala chicken wings or the masala lamb burger.
Bonus Luxe Tip: For quick healthy hearty lunches, try their Tandoori Chicken Salad served on the Lunch Menu with coleman farms lettuce, radish, carrot. Sambar snack mix (crunchy texture), and a tomato chutney dressing. The entire lunch menu defies what traditional Indian food is with light and chef-driven salads (utilizing local farmer’s market ingredients), Kati Rolls, Bowls (Yogi Bowl is amazing with Bombay Falafel, slaw, Avocado Chaat, kachumber, raita and hemp chutney.
Images by: Sambar
Address: 9531 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232
Phone: (310) 558-8800