151 S. Doheny
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Parking: Complimentary valet parking (no, really!! Just remember you should still tip)
Monday-Friday, 4-7pm, $3 beers, discounted Indian beers, $5 house wines & well drinks, $7 martinis, and $7 appetizer selection
Chakra is a cool small-ish Beverly Hills restaurant with a nice patio and bar that feels like what might happen if a W Hotel had an on-site Indian restaurant. Clean, dark lighting, ambient Indian music (cue the music on their website), and a couple flat-screens showing the ABC Nightly News and a baseball game. Although I’m not out much in the 90210, I get the sense that a lot of the restaurants have this feel of a W Hotel extension! But it was this particular spot I ended up at after looking for a Beverly Hills Happy Hour to hit before a screening at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theatre on Wilshire.
And I was not disappointed. When I arrived at 6:15pm on a Thursday, I was the only Happy Hour patron as I awaited a poor friend who got stuck in a hellish 1.5+ hour commute from Santa Monica to Beverly Hills (just another LA Story, right?). As such, the staff took good care of me – the bartender was hard at work mixing drinks for waiters serving people on the patio and in the restaurant, but she still took the time to walk me through the Happy Hour drinks and appetizers.
I ordered a couple glasses of the house chardonnay ($5/glass during Happy Hour) and a $7 samosa, but she kindly explained they’d be bringing out a little complimentary sampler if I wanted to hold off. With her guidance, I instead ordered the $7 Gobi-Manchurian, a unique and awesome Indo-Chinese cauliflower dish in which the cauliflower is lightly battered and fried and then covered in a spicy red tomato sauce. Since going vegetarian, I’ve really missed Panda Express’ orange chicken – sad I know – and this cauliflower dish was one of the closest things in texture that I’ve found in that time. Hooray for Chakra!
I also enjoyed the delicious sampler that had been sent my way – papadum (lentil) chips served with mint & tamarind chutneys, a tasty (though mouth burning) fried mushroom something or other and a baby samosa.
By the time my pal & I left around 7:15, the scene had picked up and even more resembled a W Hotel bar with well-heeled dudes & dudettes hanging out around the bar. Cool, man, cool. Also a final note: seeing as this spot seems to fit right in Beverly Hills, I would be interested in visiting or hearing about the restaurant’s Irvine location – does it have the same vibe or is it a little more collegiate?
Rating: 4 Martinis