Puri, idly, chile veg gravy, khadi bhindi curry, and more
Woodlands is a southern Indian vegetarian restaurant with branches in both Artesia and Chatsworth. I visited the Chatsworth location, where the restaurant is a welcome respite from the area's many chain restaurants and there aren't a lot of options for ethnic food. If you happen to be staying at the Radisson Chatsworth across the street, Woodlands is an incredibly convenient option, and a cheaper and tastier alternative to the Radisson's Hot Tomato restaurant.
I had been dying to check out Woodlands ever since Jonathan Gold raved about it on Evan Kleiman's Good Food, but I think his opinion of this restaurant is overrated. The first problem with most buffets, including this one, is that the food is always cold. Would it be that hard to put covers on the dishes to keep them warm? The second problem with buffets is that the selection is often not as varied as you're expecting it to be. You might be expecting a common Indian dish to be available, and it won't be. I often feel that restaurants aren't putting their best foot forward in the buffet line.
The buffet is a great value, though. For $10 you get salad, appetizers, main courses, desserts, a fresh dosa, and a mango smoothie (apparently different from a mango lassi, which is not a part of the lunch buffet).
Given Jonathan Gold's experience, the restaurant's popularity, and the pleasant atmosphere, I'd be willing to try this place again at dinner if I were in the area, but I wouldn't drive across town for it and I wouldn't revisit the lunch buffet.
Woodlands Pure Vegetarian South Indian Cuisine
9840 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Unit A
Chatsworth, CA 91311
Hours: Tuesday through Friday Lunch Buffet 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Dinner 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday Champagne/Beer Brunch 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Dinner 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.