Oakland Gets a Dash of Masala

Masala Cuisine is just a takeout joint in a gritty part of Oakland, but its fresh, vibrant Indian food is worth braving a visit to the bulletproof order window. The chef, who runs the place with his wife, was originally part of the opening team at Maharani and later had his own restaurant. At Masala Cuisine, he's aiming for home-style Indian food that's cooked to order with less added fat than in restaurants.

Chicken curry is superb, says Melanie Wong: "the boneless, skinless halal chicken had a silken texture akin to sous vide cooking in fancy kitchens." The tomatoey sauce has plenty of heat. "Something about the very first bite took me back to the Indian take-away I used to get in Brighton and London oh so many years back," says 10foot5. "The spices are bright and fresh—clove was especially pronounced, perfect level of salt, and a subtle black pepper heat that gathered slowly throughout the meal."

The carrots and peas that Melanie got as part of the $4.99 lunch special, which also included rice and dal (a regular order of the curry comes with just rice, no vegetables or bread), were done dry-curry style and not overcooked. She loved the soupy, savory dal. While definitely less fatty than most Indian restaurant fare, it's fortunately not fat-free—the rice and the curry both got a drizzle of ghee for flavor.

Masala Cuisine [East Bay]
7912 International Boulevard, Oakland
510-878-2643

Discuss: $4.99 Lunch Special at Masala Cuisine (Oakland)

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