Long Beach Indian: How Is It So Good? Part 2
2010-08-30 · By Chandra Clewley
A few weeks had passed since my husband and I had been bowled over by the Indian fare over at Natraj on Second Street and we were yet again craving it. We eat it so frequently, that we were definitely ready for more. As many of you know, there has been some ghastly traffic on 2nd Street since the Naples construction has started, and we were feeling a bit intimidated by having to sit through it to get over to 2nd street. We also wanted to see a movie, as it was date night, something that will be happening less and less often once the little one joins the family this December!
After finding a movie we both wanted to see, we remembered a friend telling us about Kamal Palace, a little known Indian restaurant tucked away behind the AMC Marina Pacifica on PCH. Well, there was no time like the present to give it a try and make the 8 p.m. movie too.
We knew that the restaurant was on the lower level of Marina Pacifica, so we drove to the parking garage under Best Buy, and parked along with just a handful of other cars. It was silent down there, right on the canals and the water of the marina, and we wondered if we had been sent on a wild goose chase! When I saw the arrow for Kamal Palace, I knew we had picked up the sent again. After parking, we walked through the winding underground of Marina Pacifica as if we were on the yellow brick road to Indian Cuisine Oz. We both felt like we were on a secret mission that no one else seems to know about, going through the secret easements of the shopping center above. We passed the AMC theater. We passed an AA class in session. And an insurance office. And there she was, Kamal Palace, sitting on the marina with a tiny little patio and one other table besides us in the restaurant. It was quiet.
As we entered, I was impressed by the white table clothes and set tables; it was a bit fancier than I had figured it to be. We were sat next to a window, and combed over the menu which looked vaguely familiar to me. That is when I realized, Kamal Palace is owned by the proprietors of Tandoori Grill in Valencia and Ambala Sweets at the Mecca of Indian Cuisine, Pioneer Blvd in Artesia. In the corner was a metal buffet, so I knew there must be a lunch buffet offered here too (in addition to Natraj, down the street).
We were immediately given Pappadam, the crispy bread, and mango and mint chutney which I could live off of. My husband decided he wanted to try a Mango Lassi, which is a thick Mango shake, that about knocked his socks off. He has a sweet tooth already, and especially loves anything with fruit. I have to admit, I loved it too. The pregnant lady wanted more!
We ordered the Chicken Korma and the Paneer Masala. They were both outstanding, although when I go back; I am definitely trying the Saag Aloo (Spinach with Potatoes) and the Chana Masaila (garbanzo beans with ginger) because the two dishes we tried were so similar in flavor profile and taste structure.
The service was good but spotty. We had walked in as the second table and by the time we left, the place had filled up, so I have to defend the waiters, we were the beginning of a big rush for them. Every time they came by, our water glasses were filled and we were checked on, but of course, we were trying to make a movie so we were more rushed than usual, which was only our fault.
The fact that Kamal Palace is in such a hidden part of Marina Pacifica, we really felt like we were in the “know” and I have a feeling this would be an awesome date spot later in the evening! I will definitely be returning to this white table cloth Indian, to leisurely enjoy our dinner and try something new!
On your way out, don’t forget to grab a spoonful of the candied fennel seeds!
Kamal Palace is located at 6374 E. Pacific Coast Highway, #A Long Beach, CA 90803 or call them (562)493-0255
(Image courtesy of Kamal Palace)