The best smelling market on earth…right here in San Gabriel.
You wanna know the story about how I discovered Bhanu Indian, AKA my hands down favorite Indian restaurant in Los Angeles? The real story?
It started with a T-Shirt, an orange T-Shirt.
And orange T-Shirt that read: Let me Tikka Your Masala.
So, I was kicking back, enjoying my second Japadog of the night, when this guy comes walking through the little makeshift eating area offering a chance to compete in a Habanero contest.
Habanero, as in the hottest pepper on the planet.
Yeah, like that’s happening.
But the guy’s enthusiasm for the place he was representing, Bhanu Indian was infectious. I decided to check out the stand. It was a nice little respectable stand, full of good food, their most popular entries and whatnot. Of course, that Terimayo dog had finished me off for the day, but I knew I was coming back for Day Two. Of course, I’d stop by again.
And don’t forget, we’ve got a Restaurant on Rosemead.
Stopping by the stall the next day, I decided they were going to be my first meal. I saw the magic words “Lamb Biryani” on sale for $6 bucks and decided to have myself a little bowl.
And don’t forget, we’ve got a Restaurant on Rosemead…they mentioned yet again.
Picking up my Lamb Biryani, I sat on the curb and…really liked what I had. It had a nice kick to it, and the Lamb was tasty as all get out.
A restaurant on Rosemead, you say?
I decided to pay it a visit in the middle of the day, for a nice lunch, and…oh dear God, the moment I walked through the doors…
Y’see. I’ve always heard of the smells that Indian Spices can generate, how overpowering and powerful they are. I’ve always heard about it, but I’ve never smelled it. Never once with all the restaurants that I’ve gone to (and liked by the way). Sure, I smelled the food…and it was nice and all…but that smell being overwhelming and overpowering? Never happened.
Not until Bhanu Indian.
I swear to you, I wanted to eat the air.
I wanted them to slice out chunks of the air I was breathing and serve it to me on a plate, it smelled so good.
Granted, that would have been a touch difficult, so I had the Lamb Biryani again.
It was a nice atmosphere at the Restaurant. The staff is really, friendly, really enthusiastic and…more to the point…remembered me from the 626 Night Market. They’re even selling those Let Us Tikka Your Masala T-Shirts at the front.
And I forgot to buy one.
No matter, since I’ll be back pretty damn soon…just to soak in that smell.
Oh that smell.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, I got their formal sit down version of Lamb Biryani, and…as good as it was at the 626 Night Market, it was better at the Restaurant of course. Controlled condition, all their tools at the ready. Not having to improvise even one little bit. (All that I presume you have to do on the road).
The Lamb was prepared to excellent, tender perfection. The rice was aromatic and delicious, and the Spice level was kicked up a notch past “kick”. Fortunately, they served it with a Yogurt Sauce that cooled things down beautifully. Now, I will say…Habanero Dude cautioned me not to pour the Yogurt Sauce over the Rice, because not everyone likes it. But having tried it now, looking back…I totally should have poured that sucker all over the Lamb Biryani. The texture of the sauce contrasts beautifully with the rice, and just makes everything magical and happy.
Also, they served me a tiny tasting portion of some…Indian pickles. I can only call them Indian Banchan in my mind. Not hot at all, but spiced to a delicious level. Really, really good…
Man, I’m thinking about going to Bhanu right now.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Nothing too critical. Bear in mind, Bhanu is both a restaurant and a Indian Grocery store Come in through the front door, the Grocery is off to your right, and the Restaurant is straight ahead.
And if you don’t like the way this place smells…I can’t help you.
PARKING: Is right out front. Bhanu Indian sits at the far edge of a L.A. Strip Mall, principally seated by a Vons as it’s major chain, I think. Parking might be a little crowded on most days, even on Bhanu’s end, but the turnover is high enough that you should be able to find something.
7246 Rosemead Blvd
San Gabriel CA, 91775
Tel: (626) 291-2101
Seven days a week: 10am to 9pm