We had received a two-fer coupon and decided to try the Marina del Rey Akbar for the first time. The place was small, but nicely appointed. But where was the wonderful spicy scent, so prevalent at any Indian restaurant? The place was almost antiseptic, with not even a hint in the air that that we were in an Indian restaurant. Oh well… the service and food would surely be good. The service was, in a word, pretentious. There was the annoying inquiry at the get-go about whether we wanted bottled water (no, thank you!). The emphasis seemed to be on wine, with the “sommelier” (probably the portly manager mentioned in other posts) pushing wine. Most tables had a bottle of wine. We’ll have a domestic beer please, but the only ones available were from domestic and foreign micro-breweries at $5.95 a pop. I tried one from Maine, and it gagged me. There was a weird column on the menu with entrée prices and another column for dinner prices: the “dinner” included vegetables, Nan, rice and a lentil concoction. In every ethnic restaurant I’ve tried, the “dinner” items include versions of what Akbar charges an additional $5. for the Indian “dinner”. Who would order just the “entrée”? The prices were high for the “dinner”, averaging around $17.95, but if it was high end Indian food, no problem. On the menu there was a 1-5 “spice” scale next to each entrée (very helpful), and when we ordered entrees in the 3 range, the manager warned us that we were “on our own”, that anything from 3-5 was spicy, and food would not be returned to the kitchen if we didn’t like the heat. Maybe it was an attempt at humor, but it felt patronizing. Well, we did get to return something to the kitchen pretty quickly anyway. We had ordered an appetizer of spicy chicken wings and waited and waited for them. When they finally arrived, the chicken was raw in the middle and we sent them back. The very same wings arrived later, just scorched to death and dry. The Nan arrived long before the entrees and was cold by the time the entrees arrived. As for the entrees, nothing much of note – pedestrian Indian food rather than the higher end food I was expecting, given the price and pretense. In all fairness despite the slow service, the busboy was very polite, solicitous, apologetic about the chicken wings, and kept the water glasses filled. And the coup de grace: the two-fer coupon was ignored on our check, even though the manager had specifically thanked me for giving it to him at the time we ordered.
Cons: Slow Service, Average Food, Pretentious Ambiance, Price