Masala Art: Not So Artful Service (2010)

Is it possible to ruin delicious food with ridiculously bad service?  Unfortunately the answer is yes.

I was excited about going to Masala Art. It was my third outing in less than a year. With the exception of neighborhood restaurants, I rarely go back to the same place when there are so many options to explore.  But the Adraki Lamb Chops at Masala Art are on my list of the Best Things I Ever Ate, and they were beckoning me.  And, Indian food is my very favorite cuisine.

We arrived at 7:00 pm.  We ordered drinks and appetizers and asked the waiter for a few extra minutes before ordering entrees.  He seemed to be watching us somewhat anxiously and finally he came by and encouraged us to order entrees before a large party arrived.

At around 7:30 our entrees arrived.  We hadn’t been served our appetizers.  The waiter apologized – he forgot to put in the order.  We sent the entrees back.  We wanted our appetizers.  We were concerned our entrees would be brought back later, cold and soggy.  We were assured they would start over and bring us fresh food.

We got our appetizers around 7:45.  One was incorrect- although they left it for us and brought the right one.  We finally got our entrees but a grilled shrimp dish was cold and overdone.  We never got our Onion Kulcha —which is always a required accompaniment to Indian food.

The Adraki Lamb Chops hadn’t changed, but the flavor wasn’t singing to me the way it had previously.  I honestly think that the experience affected the taste.  And that large party the waiter warned us about?  They were nowhere to be seen.

I won’t omit the good news.  This is a restaurant where close to 1/3 of the menu is vegetarian, so my husband is particularly happy dining here.  The prices are reasonable.  And were did enjoy the food, once we were served.  Here are some highlights:

Pani Poori. Puffed hollows stuffed with diced potatoes and chickpeas, topped with chutneys – eaten whole in one bite
Dahi Bhalle. Velvety lentil dumplings in yoghurt sauce
Bhelpuri. Puffed rice, chickpea vermicelli, chopped onion, diced mango, cilantro and drizzled with tamarind chutney
Malai Kofta. Velvety cottage cheese cubes in a tangy tomato sauce
Rock Salt and Cilantro Nan

They took the appetizers off the bill.  They served us three desserts and didn’t charge us for them.  They gave us a different waiter midway through the meal.  Nice gestures but I would much have preferred to enjoy my Adraki Lamb Chops without all the aggravation.

Masala Art, 4441 B Wisconsin Avenue NW
My rating (on a 1-5 scale):   3.5

Tom Sietsema review.


  1. […] has been more than three years since I posted a blog about Masala Art.  I loved the food, but described the “not so artful service.”  I […]

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