Monday, March 12, 2012

Where to Eat: Indian Food @ Naya Restaurant & Lounge

The Eats: Indian food with California influences

The Vibes: Sensual and enveloping

Good for: An intimate, low-key kind of evening

When-to-Go: Singers and Burlesque Dancers on Wednesday nights; DJs on Friday evenings; Fire Artists on Sunday nights; 
and 6-7:30pm happy hour every day

With-Whom-to-Go: Definitely a smokin’ hot date. Definitely. 

The $ Factor: Mid-range; entrees are priced between $15 and $26…cocktails are about $12

The 4-1-1: There are two “sides” of Naya – one dark, one light 

I’ll Be Back…: To chill on the back outdoor patio, amongst the roaring fire pits and the palm trees and shrubs, once the Indian BBQs kick off in the summer

Standing in the main entrance of Silverlake’s Naya Restaurant & Lounge, enwrapped by dark, intricately designed curtains, is where a difficult, crucial choice must be made: whether you will go to the right or venture off to the left.

Decisions, decisions! 

To the right is the main dining area, where a world of ceiling-to-floor cream-colored lace curtains and fiery red table accents create a sensually alluring enclave. It's like being in a calming, dream world. To the left is a handsomely darker bar area, with hints of turquoise splashed amongst exposed brick walls and high arches. It almost feels as if you're in a stylish, cavernous grotto. Wherever you end up, I think you'll truly appreciate that both sections transport you into exotic, foreign hideaways, as if you've traveled to some far distant, remote parts of the world.

With the same amount of thoughtful precision that’s been put into its decor, Naya has certainly created dining and cocktail options that are just as remarkable. Californian influences can be seen in everything from the freshness of entrees like the Tandoori Chicken and the Butter Masala Chicken, to the unique ingredients, such as the tortilla chips that bring a refreshing crispiness to the Sprout Street appetizer. Below are a few of the fabulous and flavorful dishes I’ve tried and highly recommend:

Sascha's Garlic Prawns (seasoned very well)

The Silky Lamb Kabob (my favorite!)

Sprout Street (very healthy)

Tandoori Chicken, Butter Chicken Masala and Apricot Patagonian Sea bass 
(a few of the most popular entrees)

As for the cocktails, they're subtle and accentuated by intense flavors. I’ve found most to be like my favorite, the Kiss of Naya: sweet but not too overbearing, with an effect that tends to hit you a few moments later. Bartenders are prone to using organic ingredients, seasonal fruits and squeezed juices, and they'll also switch up the different components of the drinks, depending on the season. For example, the Farmer’s Market cocktail pictured to the right, which debuts on the upcoming spring menu, features gin muddled with fruits from the local organic farmer’s market. When I went a couple of weeks ago, my Farmer's Market had cucumbers, lemon and thyme.

It’s rather impressive that Naya has managed to create such distinct yet complimentary atmospheres that truly arouse your visual senses. They’ve paid attention to the most intricate of details, from the billowing curtains to the fiercely red napkins and candle holders, down to the vibrant carpet. Naya is the perfect setting to enjoy amazing Indian food and superior cocktails on the eastside.

See you there soon! 

For more information: Naya Restaurant & Lounge, @nayasunset

Photo credits: Tulani Watkins

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