South Bay Indian cuisine has a delicious new home in Copper Pot – Daily Breeze

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The wooden shoe proudly referred to itself as a ‘Redondo Beach Landmark’. And it did, with a history stretching back to when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president. But when it comes to restaurants, landmark status comes with an expiration date; nothing lasts eternally.

And not too long ago, the Old Shoe dashed towards the sunset, taking with it its iconic oven-baked meatloaf, chicken fried steak, Cobb salad and moussaka, along with An assortment of world class waitresses who called diners “hun” and “honey.” It was a wonderful place.

Over time, the old shoe was replaced by an assortment of short lived eateries Рmemorably, the Redondo Beach Caf̩, Hawaiian Shaka, and the Generic 1511, who tried to recapture some of the old shoe magic by wood serving both American and Greek dishes. A nice try, but only the shoe was the shoe.

It was clearly time to move on. What has been done, and then some, with the opening in this same space of Copper Pot Indian Grill & Coffee – maybe the only restaurant I know of that serves spinach and onion pakoras and murgh malal tika. There is a cultural collision here which is a wonder to see.

The Copper Pot does not claim to be an outpost of the Taj Mahal in the SoCal. There is a lack of Indian ornamentation and frills. The space at 1511 looks like the space at 1511 has always looked. There are cabins. There is a spacious dining room. There is a counter, where locals have consumed countless burgers, fries, and shakes over the years.

Closest to the Coper Pot of a burger is aloo paratha – Indian flatbread stuffed with potatoes. As for fries, well, samosas and pakoras can be quite crispy. The closest to a shake is mango lassi. And that’s all very well too.

  • With its long counter facing the kitchen, benches, and tables, Copper Pot is not much different from previous restaurants in the same space, including Wooden Shoe and 1511. (Photo by Merrill Shindler)

  • Copper Pot at Redondo Beach serves tandoori, curries and other specialties from the Indian subcontinent. (Photo by Merrill Shindler)

After braving the mini blasts of hip South Bay steakhouses and tacos, it’s a treat to stumble upon something… different. The menu seems downright alternative. When it comes to Indian restaurants, Copper Pot is close to the encyclopedia, with an assortment of foods that covers the subcontinent quite well; there is something everywhere, and something for everyone.

Assuming everyone likes a little spice; I don’t think there is a bland dish cooked by the Copper Pot kitchen. Perhaps the plain wheat bread naan comes the closest. And even the naan is served with an assortment of dips.

More typical are the garlic naan and the chili naan, which have taken a tandoor-cooked dough and turned it into a dish you’ll remember as the near side of… perfect.

It is also one of the few restaurants to combine vegetarian cuisine from the South, with chicken, mutton, lamb and fish from the rest of the country. India’s culinary palette (and palate) has been said to transcend that of any other nation. I’m not sure – China’s diversity is astounding. But as you can find on the Copper Pot menu, it’s a food that’s anything but beige. “Colorful” would be an understatement.

So, we’ve got a menu that wanders like a drunken sailor, from classic Anglo-Indian lentil and yogurt soup called Mulligatawny (a word that manages to sound both Irish and Indian!), To cauliflower. crispy fried sprinkled with mango powder, in the wonders of a chicken fries chettinad (a traditional country dish not often found on local menus), and of all things an omelet masala, which I would take for breakfast on chocolate chip pancakes every morning.

Tandoori grill dishes are plentiful, biryani rice dishes are even more so, and above all, there are curries, both stuffed and meatless. But the real fascination for me came from the title of “Tiffin” – a light pre-dinner snack of, in this case, those southern vegetarian dishes (dosas and idlys, uthappam and poori). (I’m intrigued to find the word “Tiffin” on a menu anywhere these days. I thought it was a term that died out in the 19th century.)

There is a dosa (a kind of pancake) four feet long, and speckled with ghee, clarified butter. And when you get to the end there are desserts that are pure Indian delight – rose ice cream and iced kulfi, a split banana topped with sweet date sauce and the wonderful creation called phirni (the ultimate rice pudding). , flavored with cardamom, saffron and nuts). Or how about that caramel ice cream?

It is perhaps the most exotic meal you will eat in a unique restaurant. The wooden shoe has been transformed into a copper pot. A work of transformation that defies the imagination.

Merrill Shindler is an independent Los Angeles-based food critic. Send an email to [email protected]

Copper Pot Indian Grill & Coffee

  • Evaluation: 3 stars
  • Address: 1511 Pacific Coast Hwy., Redondo Beach
  • Information: 310-504-0777; www.copperpotla.com
  • Food: Classic Indian served in a longtime Middle American diner
  • When: Lunch and dinner, Wednesday to Monday
  • Details: After decades of waffles and eggs for breakfast, and burgers later, this iconic space is where we now go for tandoori and curries, samosas and pakoras – a cultural shift that can leave you upset because it looks exactly like before!
  • Prices: About $ 18 per person
  • Suggested dishes: 3 soups ($ 4.99 – $ 8.99), 15 small plates ($ 4.99 – $ 12.99), 7 tandoori grills ($ 13.99 – $ 29.99), 12 biryani dishes (13, $ 99 – $ 18.99), 10 vegetarian curries ($ 11.99 – $ 14.99), 18 non-vegetarian curries ($ 14.99 – $ 24.99), 19 light meals “Tiffins” (8.99 $ – $ 19.99), 8 breads ($ 2.99 – $ 6.99), 11 desserts ($ 3.99 – $ 7.99)
  • Credit card: MC, V
  • What do the stars mean: 4 (World class! Worth the trip from anywhere!), 3 (Very excellent, if not exceptional. Worth the trip from anywhere in Southern California.), 2 (A great place to go for a meal. Worth the trip from anywhere in the neighborhood.) 1 (If you’re hungry and it’s nearby, but don’t get stuck in traffic.) 0 (Honestly, not worth it. speak.)


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