Sunday, December 13, 2009

Masala Art: New Indian Restaurant in Washington, D.C.

We're not great fans of eating out at Indian restaurants in the US. No matter how laudatory the reviews, we end up being disappointed - the flavors seem boring and bland, many of the dishes insipid versions of those made at home. But hope springs eternal. So when we saw a review on the Washington Post for a new North-Indian restaurant in DC called Masala Art, we decided to give it a try.

The restaurant, located on Wisconsin Avenue, has a pleasing ambiance - plenty of Indian art and other decorative items, but not so much as to overwhelm the senses. When we walked in on a Sunday afternoon, there were not many patrons to begin with, but people trickled in slowly in twosomes and in groups. Soon the place was buzzing.

We ordered the standard fare - mango lassis, samosas, pani puri, dahi papri, butter chicken, baingan bartha and a paneer dish. We ordered the naans with the interesting twist - baked with cilantro and rock salt.

Thrillist has this to say about the restaurant and its owner:
Preaching the philosophy that cooking is an “art form to be savored along with music and painting” and that particular dishes have their own “perfect moment”, the owner of the green-walled, trinket-lined, 45-seat Masala is a 20-year vet who spent the last decade exploring subcontinental cuisine at Dupont's Heritage India, after spending the first half of his career in India, exploring his heritage.
The food was actually flavorful, served hot and in the right portion sizes. Someone had put some thought into the presentation. The kids enjoyed the food as much as we did. The menu presents a nice variety of dishes and is not too pricey. The wait-staff was attentive (and talkative, which was OK as we were not there for a business lunch). One of them said that the restaurant serves brunches during the week, but is still gauging interest in weekend brunches.

Perhaps because it was the cozy space or because the restaurant was not overflowing, allowing us to linger, or because it was just the four of us out on a jaunt into DC on a bright, sunny Sunday afternoon, but we had an awesome time. I have a feeling we might be making our way back there again with a bunch of friends the next time around.

The restaurant is located at 4441-B Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20016, ph: 202-362-4441. The closest metro is Tenleytown-AU. According to the wait-staff, Thursday to Saturday nights tend to be crowded and reservations, therefore, would be prudent.


Art said...

Good resturant.
And i think this blog is very different from others and i find some good art from your site.
I am from france and i have attended some good art classes in my country.

Thank you

Choxbox said...

Aah glad the pani puri was not filled and then fried!

(that is how the Oxford dictionary defines pani puri)

Anonymous said...

We're going to try it soon, but have been spoiled by some recent meals at Rasika.