Two things stand out at Kapoor’s Akbar Cuisine of India, which features three of its four locations within a proverbial stone’s throw of the Pacific Ocean: there is a wide selection of seafood items, and many dishes are prepared with a delectable coconut base. The seafood fare and the coconut flavored dishes are inspired, in part, by Goan cuisine, one of India’s regional menus that is not-so-well advertised here.
Do not label Akbar as a Goan restaurant, however. Instead, expect to find delicious Indian cuisine that includes a solid dose of fare prepared in a coconut sauce and an extensive seafood menu that includes Khatta-Meeta Shrimp, Mini Crab Cakes, Tandoori Salmon, Chilean Sea Bass, Crab Curry, and Prawn Madras. There is a Shrimp Pakora coated in coconut as well as a pair of sautéed dishes (eggplant or jalapeno) that is prepared in a coconut-tamarind sauce. The Prawn Madras and Crab Curry are also prepared in coconut.
Kapoor, who operates Akbar with his brother, makes an effort to create new sauces and maintain a variety of seafood dishes on his menu.
“No other Indian restaurant features a lot of seafood. They are stuck with the same (options). I also do different sauces,” he told India-West, adding that a lamb dish with a coconut milk sauce he created in the mid-1990s garnered critical acclaim from the Los Angeles Times.
To give exposure to a wider range of Indian cuisine, Kapoor is constantly evolving his menu in order to stand out from the competition and to challenge perceptions about what diners can expect when visiting an Indian restaurant.
“I don’t like to stick with the same,” Kapoor said, adding that he creates a variety of new sauces to complement each of his menu items and also makes a variety of tableside sauces to accompany each meal. “I try different things.”
Kapoor has teamed up with Gourmet Wine Getaways to present a wine tasting dinner set for Sept. 19, 2012 at the Akbar which includes pairing wines with specific items from the menu.
Complementing the restaurant’s seafood fare, special wine events and unique sauces offer a solid selection of breads, meats, rice and vegetables. Among the appetizers are stuffed jalapenos, sautéed eggplants, onion fritters, samosas, and a mouth watering Chicken Kati Roll. In addition to saffron rice, Akbar diners can choose one of many biryanis and rice cooked with mushrooms. From the tandoori grill are such dishes as Chicken Tikka, Lamb Chop, Mint Chicken Kabob, Tandoori Chicken, as well as Tandoori Salman and Chilean Sea Bass.
Kapoor has Chicken Tikka Masala on his menu, as well as chicken in cashew sauce, a refreshing chicken in mango sauce and a chicken tikka dish prepared with spinach. While lamb lovers are offered a wide selection of the gamey meat served in different sauces or spices, vegetarians have quite the selection as well, including Kofta, Saag Paneer, and Channa Masala in addition to cauliflower, eggplant, lentil bean and okra dishes.
Akbar’s Hermosa Beach restaurant is located at 1101 Aviation Boulevard. Dinner is served daily from 5-10 p.m.; lunch is available Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling (310) 937-3800.The restaurant caters and accommodates private parties.
Akbar Cuisine of India restaurants can also be found in Marina Del Rey, Old Town Pasadena and Santa Monica. More information about the restaurant can be found at the www.akbarcuisineofindia.com Web site.