Chelsea Madren aka OC Food Diva: Johnsonville's The Sausage Dome Champion, World Food Championships E.A.T. Certified Food Judge, KCBS Certified BBQ Judge, Brand Ambassador, Culinary Researcher, Food & Travel Critic, Food Competitor, and Recipe Developer
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L.A. Biryani is where fast casual dining meets Indian cuisine in Santa Ana, California
The menu items in this post were provided by L.A. Biryani but the
opinions expressed here are my own.
I am a huge fan of Indian cuisine! I love the aroma and flavors of
different spices and how they come together for a balanced dish. In January
2017, L.A. Biryani debuted their fast-casual concept of Indian cuisine. You
might think to yourself, “L.A. Biryani? But isn’t it located in Orange County?”
L.A. inspired the concept with a melting pot of cultures and diversity of
cuisines. If you are a purist, you may not care for this. They created the menu
for folks who are clean-eaters (no artificial colors, preservatives, etc.) and use
less oil, butter, and fats than traditionally for healthier eaters. Although,
for a fast-casual concept, this place did not disappoint me. The way to think
of L.A. Biryani is the “Subway” of Indian food where everything is made to
order and they shoot to have orders out within five minutes.
The interior is bright with white tiled walls and contrasting
bright orange and black chairs.
When you go to fill up your drink, you can peer into the kitchen
as they make your order.
A sauce bar is available to add different flavors and also to adjust
your level of spice.
Here is a look at some of the menu items:
Samosa Chaat ($4.99, vegetarian) is fried pastry with garbanzo
beans, masala, tamarind, mint, sweet yoghurt, and fresh pomegranate. These
crispy bites were filled to the brim and pack some heat. The garbanzo beans
(chickpeas) added a flavorful, filling component. Rating: 4.3/5
Chicken Lollipop ($8.99) are fried chicken tulips served with
curry leaves and lemon chili cilantro sauce. This was my favorite item on the
menu! If you love chicken wings, you’ll love these. They were crispy on the
outside and tender on the inside. The two dipping sauces worked great so you
can control the balance of flavors with each bite. The chili sauce was spicy
but not overly spicy. The yogurt sauce helped cool and refresh the palate.
Chicken Curry ($8.99) is a house special chicken dish cooked in curry
sauce along with a freshly ground spice blend. This dish had a beautiful
reddish, orange color. The spices not only made a beautiful color but flavored
the dish with herbaceous, spicy, savory, and smoky notes. Order this dish with
a side of rice as not to waste any of that sauce. Rating: 4.5/5
Lamb Biryani ($11.99) starts with rice pilaf topped with marinated
boneless lamb and served with flavored yogurt and yellow gravy. The lamb was
juicy and tender. The rice pilaf was flavorful and paired well with the lamb.
The yellow gravy worked the best with this dish. The yogurt sauce had a cooling
effect but a little too spicy which overpowered the lamb flavor. Rating: 5/5
Chicken Biryani ($8.99) starts with rice pilaf topped with bone-in
marinated chicken and served with flavored yogurt and yellow gravy. The chicken
had a nice flavor, especially since it was cooked on the bone. The yogurt sauce
worked better with this dish. Rating: 4/5
Palak Paneer ($9.99, vegetarian) is chunks of cheese grilled then
tossed in a pureed spinach sauce with house blend spices. This was the
brightest green palak paneer I have ever seen. They use fresh spinach for the
sauce so it retains the vibrant green color. Even with the greenness from the
spinach, the sauce was rich and savory. This is another dish that you
definitely want to order a side of rice to catch all of that sauce. Rating: 4.5/5
Kulfi ($1.99) is frozen thickened milk flavored with saffron and
nuts. It tasted like ice cream. The saffron was very light but the sauce gave
it a custardy feel. Rating: 4.1/5
Manilla Pastry ($2.99) is a layered chocolate cake with nuts and
marshmallows along with cardamom white chocolate sauce and a scoop of kulfi. The
chocolate cake was spongy and reminded me of a cake my mom used to make for me
as a child. The white chocolate cardamom sauce made an interesting contrast of
sweet and savory. The soft marshmallows, nuts, and creamy kulfi added textural
contrast to the dessert. Rating: 4.1/5
If you’re looking for a healthy twist on Indian food, give L.A.
Biryani a try!
Happy Hour: 20% off beer and wine from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.