Chances are that fans of Indian food in Silicon Valley have eaten Sachin Chopra‘s food. He’s had a hand in several of the South Bay’s most successful modern South Asian restaurants.

He was the opening executive sous chef at Amber in Santana Row. He was executive chef at Mantra in Palo Alto and, later, opening chef at the high-style Sakoon in Mountain View, one of my favorite new-school Indian restaurants.

He currently presides over All Spice, an acclaimed contemporary restaurant in San Mateo. Esquire magazine named Chopra one of four “chefs to watch” in 2011 for his cooking at All Spice.

His most recent project is Arka, a fusiony Indian restaurant in Sunnyvale. But for such a prolific and talented chef, the restaurant was a letdown. He’s not the restaurant’s executive chef, that would be Surbeer Rawat. Sachin was, rather, the consulting executive chef, which means he helped create the menu and the concept. Neither does much for the cause of modern Indian food.

The 200-seat restaurant aspires to be lively and hip with its thumping sound system, lime- and lavender-colored walls and glittering bar illuminated by multi-colored pendant lamps. But the food doesn’t live up to the flashy vibe and decor.

All the dishes I tried were well-executed, but the results were mediocre. Most of the menu is straight-up Indian food, the likes of which you can get at number of South Bay restaurants.

Some dishes are sprinkled with nontraditional ingredients like Brussels sprouts, mozzarella cheese and pesto, but the results are mixed. The menu comes off as Sakoon-lite. Mountain View’s Sakoon successfully marries traditional and Western ingredients to create a compelling, new-style cuisine. The food at Arka is standard Indian with a few nontraditional ingredients tossed in.

Chicken 65 is a classic Indian food snack, juicy nuggets of spiced chicken either deep-fried or sauted. Arka’s version ($7.95) is unremarkable and dry. The advertised spiciness and flavors of curry leaves and fennel were too muted to make a difference.

Butter chicken has become a Silicon Valley favorite for good reason. Silken and creamy, the dish owes its buttery richness not to just butter but to yogurt and/or cream. Arka’s version ($13.95) is more restrained and leans more on tomatoes for body than dairy products. I like my butter chicken buttery.

Lal mirch ($11.95) was billed as a spicier version of butter chicken. Studded with rotund dried chiles it is a bit hotter than the butter chicken but it, too, was more tomato than creamy. And the addition of green bell peppers isn’t doing anyone any favors.

The rosemary lamb chops ($19.95) came highly recommended from my waiter. While wonderfully tender, I expected more of a tangy glaze from all the time spent in the tandoor oven. What I got was fine but not great.

For a hearty meat dish, I liked the nizami goat curry ($15.95) better. I am fond of goat to begin with (if you like lamb, you’ll like goat), and enrobed in a sweetish curry built around slow-roasted onions, it is very good.

On the vegetarian side, the mirch baigan aur ananas ($12.95) offers a taste of southern India with flavors of slow-cooked eggplant, pineapple, coconut milk and peanut sauce.

Less successful was the nontraditional masala bundh gobhi ($11.95), with Brussels sprouts in what was described as a garlic and onion sauce but instead was really an onion- and garlic-spiked tomato sauce. It would have been better to leave the tomatoes out. The combination of the sprouts and tomatoes created a clash of flavors.

Arka makes a wide range of breads, naan, parantha and kulcha. It’s here where the fusion concept runs wildest, with ingredients like pesto and Parmesan, smoked paprika and thyme, and green chile jack cheese (Mex-Indian?).

No matter the cultural mishmash, Indian bread right out of the tandoor is pretty hard to beat, no matter what’s on it. My favorite was the garlic and serrano chile naan ($2.45). 

On the plus side, Arka offers a good selection of beer that goes beyond the standards (Taj, Kingfisher) and dives into Belgian ales. The floral and complex ales are a great match for the spicy and sometimes sweet flavors of Indian food. There’s also a decent wine list and a full bar. The lineup for cocktails leans toward the fruity side, as in sweet and made with fruit.

Arka deserves points for its responsibly sourced ingredients. Seafood gets the stamp of approval from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. The chicken and some vegetables are organically raised. Few Indian restaurants in Silicon Valley make this kind of effort. 

Service is prompt and professional. General manager Michael Christian Agnel, a vet of Amber and Sakoon, runs a smooth operation on the front of the house.

While chef Chopra has arguably done more than any chef to advance Indian food in Silicon Valley, his efforts at Arka come up short.

725 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Sunnyvale