Masala Fine Art

We returned to Tenleytown and Masala Art (4441 B Wisconsin) for lunch recently, ordered completely different dishes than our previous visit, and enjoyed the meal just as much. Maybe even more: this time there was marginally less sweat and less lag time before entrees. Service was excellent this time, and the place was shockingly empty.

Masala still cam up a tad shy on the lamb in the biryani, though: Mrs. Me is a biryani addict and this was our only repeat dish, and while it looked snazzy — a golden-brown rice melange delivered in a copper pot — and the flavors were wonderful, she had to hunt for pieces of lamb, mostly without success.

Bhuna gosht, on the other hand, boasted plenty of lamb in a dark brown curry sauce, and while it wasn’t quite as incendiary as the vindaloo, it cleared my sinuses right up. Okay, yes, there was sweat. I might even have cried a little, but more from pleasure than pain; besides, we like a little pain on the palate from time to time, keeps us calibrated. I also preferred the flavors of this dish to the vindaloo.

Our friends ordered, and liked, the tandoori chicken and the chicken saagwala, a creamy green spinach sauce.  We also enjoyed an appetizer, the unpronounceable-by-us aloo aur pyaz ki bhaji: julienned potato and onion dunked in chickpea batter and fried.  Hard to go wrong with fried, in any country or cuisine. Masala Art isn’t cheap (on a par with Indique, and maybe 15% more than Tiffin on average) but is high quality and, with friends about to move a few blocks away, I expect we’ll be back periodically.

Oh, and (in memoriam of recently departed Peter Falk) just one more thing…I would be remiss if I did not note Masala Art’s perfectly clean, functional, but oddly appointed restrooms. Both the men’s and women’s rooms feature two toilets, facing each other, but no stalls and no doors. The porcelain thrones are just out in the open, as if one might want to bring a friend and perhaps play some chess while taking care of business, or have an unusually candid face-to-face chat. I am trying not to wonder who designed the rooms, I would rather just not think about it.

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