ARTESIA, Calif. — Another new Indian restaurant opened its doors here in Artesia’s Little India district, with the city’s mayor and Chamber of Commerce officials welcoming Wok-N-Tandoor to the popular Pioneer Boulevard thoroughfare earlier this month. The restaurant combines Indian spices and themes with Chinese and Western dishes.
Saumil Patel, 22, is the executive chef at Wok-N-Tandoor, which opened Feb. 2 at the former location of Woodlands. He said the restaurant’s menu would offer popular Indo-Chinese dishes but also combine Indians spices and flavors with American and Western plates.
“I want to introduce a little bit more of the American dishes with Indian flavors,” Patel, who attended culinary school in New York, told India-West. “When people come into Wok-N-Tandoor, it’s going to be higher-end but I want people to feel casual.”
Patel said plating and presentation is an essential element of his creativity and the overall dining experience at his restaurant. The U-shaped restaurant features a dining area on two sides with a bar area in the center. Diners can enjoy a daily lunch buffet and individual dishes during the evening.
Two dishes Patel highly recommends are the Saffron Chicken and Indian Lettuce Wraps; he added he is still developing a few more unique dishes to add to the menu. The 22-year-old Indian American chef hopes to develop Wok-N-Tandoor into a franchised restaurant.
The full menu is organized into several categories: soups, vegetarian appetizers, non-vegetarian appetizers, “Mystic Masala,” Masala Vegetarian, and Veggies from the Wok (Bombay-Style Chinese).
Samplings of items from the appetizers’ menu include Chinese Bhel, Szechuan Fries, Shishito Peppers, Murg Malai Kabab, Masala Wings, and Szechuan Chicken Tikka.
Diners can enjoy one of five soups: Tomato, Hot and Sour, Sweetcorn, Lemon Coriander, and Corn Chowder
The Mystic Masala section features Badami (Almond) Chicken, Fish Curry, Shrimps Jalfrezy and Gosht Saagwalla (stir-fried spinach with spicy lamb).
Main vegetarian dishes include Methi Malai Paneer (cheese in a fenugreek and cashew cream sauce), Bhagare Baingan (eggplant with tamarind and peanut sauce), and Garlic Tadka (mixed vegetables in garlic masala).
The wok menu includes Chili Garlic Potatoes, Manchurian Veg-Balls, Kung Pao Veg, Hot Garlic Eggplant, Gobi Manchurian, and Szechuan Paneer.
Prices range from $4.50 for an appetizer or soup to $14.99 for a main course.
“What I was told by one of my mentors is no matter who it is and what it is, people eat with their eyes first. I want you to feel hungry when you look at my plate. Aroma should be the second reason you are hungry,” Patel told India-West. “[For example] I use different types of edible flowers on different dishes.”
Wok-N-Tandoor is located 11833 Artesia Boulevard in Artesia; the phone number is (562) 809-8181. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday with a lunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and to-order dishes from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; no service on Mondays, and between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. all other days.