I was invited to try Chakra, a new Indian restaurant in the same spot as former Indian restaurant Maurya, and before that, the Manhattan Wonton Co. The Doheny Blvd. location is great if you're going to a screening at the Writers Guild or the Academy, but it seems to be a hard location for people to wrap their minds around otherwise since there's not much else on that block.
Design score: Chakra has added a room full of curtained booths and two private party rooms, so between the bar, the main dining room, the patio and the other spaces, there's plenty of room for parties and events. Decor is exotic sans the kitsch.
Unusual martinis aren't exactly indigenous to the Drinkability: Indian sub-continent, but it was fun trying the Fire on Doheny chili-infused martini and the lassi and watermelon martini. Now, the food: The dishes are Indian fusion or modernized Indian -- we tried tandooori-cooked mushrooms stuffed with paneer cheese (pictured), scallops masala and tandoori chicken in puff pastry. My favorite dish was called Dal Sorba, a perfectly spiced creamy lentil soup with crabmeat.
Who it's good for: It's not for the Chowhound crowd looking for a dirt-cheap Indian dive with fiery food, but if you're looking for a relaxing restaurant in the Beverly Hills area, some exotic cocktails, and possible a sexy curtained booth, Chakra could be the spot.