My parents live in the San Fernando Valley and since our daughter's birth, we visit them several times a year. They are, of course, more than happy to babysit, so we get to go out on "dates" and try the neighborhood restaurants.
Sunday night (January 2004) during one such visit, we decided to try Mother India Restaurant on Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Chatsworth. I love Indian food and Mother India was open - always a big plus in my book.
The restaurant itself is fairly large but otherwise non-descript. It has booths and pinkish fake-leather chairs, sporting that sterilized look that reminds me of 1970's family restaurants. In other words, don't go there for the ambiance. The food, however, is above-average and we would likely go there again.
The menu offers typical North Indian food plus several South Indian choices. Prices are on the high side, with most entrees at $10 and "chef specialties" platters at $14-16, but you can print a coupon for 10% off your meal at their website (we didn't know that when we went). We weren't very adventurous and we stuck with our favorite North-Indian dishes, and in general that proved to be a good choice.
As an appetizer, we shared some chicken pakora ($6). The chicken was lightly battered and served very hot. It wasn't very flavorful by itself, but the sweet and sour sauce served at the table was delicious. We'd probably order it again (as long as the sauce was available).
As entrees we had the lamb korma ($10) and the tandoori mixed grill ($16). The korma was not your standard korma; it wasn't very creamy and was salty rather than sweet, but was still quite good. The portion wasn't overly generous, however. The accompanying rice was plain white, and not remarkable by itself. The mixed grill was good, on par with those at most Indian restaurants (this is one dish that most Indian restaurants seem to get right). I particularly liked the chicken tandoori which was quite moist. I think it was overpriced at $16, however. It came with some flat naan which wasn't that great.
We also ordered keema naan ($4) which was well-stuffed with very lambish-tasting filling. I liked it. I also really loved the sweet lassi ($2) I had, it was probably the best lassi I've had in a long time; it was sweet, but not overly so, and not too sour.
The meal came to about $50 including a generous tip (as we were there past their closing time), which I felt was a bit too expensive. We did have left overs, however.
Mother India Restaurant
10110 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Chatsworth, CA 91311