January 4, 2011

Al Noor, Lawndale

Al Noor has been one of my favorite lunch spots in the South Bay since it opened its doors in 1998. It didn't take long for this restaurant fill all its tables during the lunch rush and attract customers from all over Los Angeles. Now the restaurant has nearly doubled in size with glowing praise from people like Chef Eric Greenspan who appeared on "The Best Things I Ever Ate" raving about Al Noor's Chicken Tikka Masala and Garlic Naan. South Bay is no longer "home" to me, but I still make it a point to eat at Al Noor whenever I am in the area.

Mint Chutney, cucumbers, onions, limes
The mint chutney is a great palate cleanser. It's tangy from the yogurt, spicy from the serrano chili and refreshing from the mint. Pour some on top of a cucumber slice and it will get rid of any flavors in your mouth that might interfere with the flavors of each dish.

Plain naan
There are five types of naan offered at Al Noor and the plain naan is my favorite to eat with dishes. I always found flavored naan such as garlic or chili naan more enjoyable on its own. When the plain naan arrives at our table, it's almost too hot to handle. The texture is perfect: crunchy around the edges and soft and chewy on the inside.

Plain Rice
The rice is fragrant and ordinary. I would prefer another order of plain naan over the rice.

Mutton Qorma
The bone in chunks of mutton are covered in a rich onion sauce. The meat was very tender and almost falling off the bone. The mutton flavor was subtle and nicely balanced by the sauce. The best way to enjoy the left over sauce is to put pieces of pita bread in the sauce, allow it to soak up some of the juice and enjoy with a spoon.

Baigan bharta
This is a must-order-every-visit dish. The smashed eggplant mixed with all the spices and herbs is absolutely addicting. The eggplant is roasted in the tandoori and then smashed, which gives the dish a layer of smokey flavor. The consistency is of a thick chunky gravy, which is very spreadable on the pita bread.

Overall, The quality of food and distinct flavors of each dish is just as good as my last visit. There are three levels of spiciness offered and the spiciest level is tolerable but prepare to sweat a little. Although the restaurant has expanded, it still remains a no frills dining establishment with a focus on serving great food to its customers. The food comes out at a good pace and the service is friendly. The portions are on par with the price and the best deal is a order of plain naan and baigan bharta. This is the perfect lunch spot for every one who works or lives in the neighborhood.

4 out of 5 Stars

Al Noor
15112 Inglewood Ave
Lawndale, CA 90260

Parking is available in a private lot in front of the restaurant. The spots are very small and during lunch rush hard to find.


Anonymous said...

hey (: I just saw this on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" and i was wondering if you know how the naan is made. I don't remember the exact recipe and I was wondering if maybe you knew? (:

Pink Foodie said...

Hi Anonymous,

Unfortunately, I don't have the exact recipe for their naan. I've tried a few recipes from the web but none have come close. If I do get my hands on the recipe, I will be sure to post it.