Masala Art

Many cultures portray their culinary tradition as a mystical art form, per films like Mexico's Like Water for Chocolate, and America's Like Soda for Good Burger. Bringing DC some Indian culinary magic: Masala Art.

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. To start, they've got apps like "Dahi Bhalle" ("velvety" lentil dumplings in yoghurt sauce) and standards like South India-style "Chicken Tikka"; as well as Tandoori specialties like "Maas Ka Soola" (small chunks of skewer-roasted lamb ), "Murg Tikka Kali Mirch" (whole chicken breast in yogurt/black pepper sauce), and the carom seed/saffron marinaded "Ajwaini Jumbo Prawns", which cruelly deny you the opportunity to astutely point out an oxymoron. Less typical fare comes in the form of traditionally griddled Tawa dishes, like "Karwari Mushroom" coated w/ rice flour and South Indian spice blend, "Tawa Bhindi's" okra w/ sesame seed/cumin, and "Tawa Murgh Khatta Pyaaz": marinated chicken cubes with pickled onions, masala gravy, and "royal cumin", which blithely runs over the salt of the earth in its carriage.

Because India digs the sauce too, Masala's got four beers on tap, plus a full bar serving up an infused vodka "Cilantro-tini" -- their only signature cocktail, but drink it like water, and soon your Saturday night will be plenty live.