Great New Restaurants 2010: Masala Art
25 places that are making the Washington dining scene better than ever
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Kate Nerenberg, Rina Rapuano
Comments () | Published October 6, 2010
Cheap Eats 2011 100 Best Restaurants (2011)

Masala Art
Address: 4441-B Wisconsin Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20016
Phone: 202-362-4441
Neighborhood: Upper Northwest
Cuisines: Indian
Nearby Metro Stops: Tenleytown-AU
Price Range: Inexpensive
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: N/A
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Bhel puri; samosas; chickpea-and-onion fritters; dal; butter chicken; sole curry; chicken in saffron-and-cashew curry; naan with rock salt and cilantro.
Price Details: Starters, $4.25 to $5.50; main courses, $9.95 to $21.95.

Butter chicken—so-called for the smooth richness of its tangy tomato-and-yogurt gravy—is a good gateway dish for diners getting acquainted with Indian cooking. It’s also a safe harbor amid the scorching heat found on many Indian menus. The version at this Tenleytown storefront challenges convention. Its gravy is so vivid and zesty that you might wonder if it’s the same dish you’ve been eating for years. So it often goes at Masala Art, where familiar tastes—samosas, dal, and even naan—are rendered afresh thanks to Surinder Kumar, for many years the chef at Heritage India, a standard bearer in DC’s Glover Park. Owner Atul Bhola managed the dining room there for more than a decade. The duo gives the restaurant a one-two punch that’s almost as strong as one of its curries.

Don’t miss: Bhel puri; chickpea-and-onion fritters; sole curry; chicken in cashew-and-saffron curry; naan with rock salt and cilantro.

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