Diwan[CLOSED]

Some might miss the lack of kitschy Christmas lights and native Indian touches like tarnished urn-like things, eight-armed elephants and some dusty, old rugs. We, on the other hand, appreciate the casual elegance of the place. The low lighting, nice seating and large windowed frontage add a touch of class to a genre of cuisine that is so rife with cheese. I actually went there for a birthday celebration on Halloween with a bunch of friends and was seated at a long banquet table up front. The place was amazingly empty for dinnertime, but that just meant more personal service for us. This joint is a little pricier than the Indian places I’m used to patronizing, but it felt a more upscale with the fancy serving dishes, well-dressed waiters and fawning, but strangely slow, service. Of course, again, we were the only people in there and probably looked like a big, fat tip waiting to happen–but not big enough to hustle with the water as our mouths burned like the Malibu hills in the dry, California summer. The food was pretty damn good, too. We had your typical lamb vindaloo (goan gosht vindaloo) and chicken tikka masala (called murg for some reason) and relished in the mounds of rice, sheets of naan and bowls of raita. My Levi’s were at the breaking point by the end of the meal, and everyone seemed satiated, as they–with eyes glazed–reached for dessert menus only to realize that Indian desserts are kinda gross. So, if you have a good amount of time and large group of friends who want to get full and get lit, this place is kinda like a really weak state of nirvana. [MF]