I do not claim to know Indian food. I promise never to make such a broad, overreaching statement with this type of cuisine. However, I do know three dishes that I like:
- Plain Nan (Flat bread cooked in a tandoor)
- Onion Bahji (sliced onion mixed in batter and deep fried)
- Chicken Tikka Masala (chicken with cream sauce made from tomatoes and curry)
Laadla, is located near the new fancy, smancy, Vulcan powered neighborhood better known as South Lake Union. Over the course of a time I have driven past Laadla a few hundred times and have always been curious to try it but never really felt the need/hunger to go in. It is one of the many businesses you see daily that you accept as being there but understand that they are not necessarily there for you. I believe the reason for this is simple. The exterior of Laadla is completely unappealing, let alone saliva-inducing. In fact the mere knowledge that Laadla also has a separate bar room almost caused the writing of this article to never exist.
So what is the most unfortunate thing about Laadla? The food is really good!
First let’s explore Laadla. As I mentioned before Laadla has the outdoor aesthetic appeal comparable to a dive bar. Inside Laadla is a pretty simple place, a big room with lots of tables sitting under just-above-the-dim-setting lights. The host/waiter/DJ (appears to be slow on Saturday nights) was extremely polite and helped me choose some dishes.
The Nan bread was great. It was topped with a little bit of minced garlic and was great to pull apart and dunk the chewy bread in various sauces. Also, at $1.75 it is also a great stomach filler for those on a tight budget. As far as the food goes I only have tiny finicky complaints. The Onion Bahji wasn’t properly fried as many of the pieces stuck together. Other than that it was a good dish, the powerful onion flavor was cut down by the batter. Also the dish is served with, what I would guess is the Indian equivalent of soy sauce. Finally the Chicken Tikka Masala is the hungry man’s (or woman’s, we are in Seattle now) meal. Boneless chicken and the tomato curry cream sauces are poured over a very generous portion of Basmati rice. The sauce is excellent, sweet a like a tomato with a slight kick from the curry. My only complaint here is that there was not enough chicken.
Moral of the story? Don’t judge a restaurant’s food based on its badly designed and ill-kept exterior. Laadla isn’t pretty from the outside but in the end that’s not what food is about. I personally rather eat in a restaurant that was unappealing and served great food then a pretty boy restaurant with inedible and unappetizing food.