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Can you bear another rave about Tanra Masala?

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Can you bear another rave about Tanra Masala?

Kenzi | Oct 7, 2003 07:09 PM

I finally made it there with a friend of mine who was told by Eric Eto not to miss it.

I know there have been 1001 raves about this place, but it really lives up to all that, no disappointed expectations here!

It really combines all the best of Chinese and Indian food to create an entirely new and wondeful cuisine. And the novelty of that combination, for me, was a balm after too much boring Chinese and Indian food.

The place was small and cozy; the waitstaff were super friendly and helpful and the other diners were of two kinds: (1) Indian families of 2 to 3 generations; and (2) groups of young Indian people in their late teens/early 20s. I think this proves the universal appeal of this place. My group was one whitey (me!), one Moroccan, one Chinese-American and one Japanese and we were the only one of any of those groups!

Now to the food. You have to love a place that marks only the items that are NOT spicy. Here's what we had: We started with Lollypop chicken which was fried drumsticks stuffed with something and served with a tangy sauce; I thought this was going to be just a boring fried chicken thing with a cute way to present it, but the filling in the drumsticks really made the dish and I can't even tell you what was in the stuff. We also had Tangra Masala fish fingers, basically fried fish with a sour, spicy sauce; the fish itself was a little bland but the dipping sauce was nicely subtle. I probably wouldn't order this in the future because it wasn't anything extraordinary. Our main courses were fish with ginger and scallion which was good but a little boring for me, because it just tasted like regular ole chinese food. We also had Tangra Masala chicken which was exquisite and, for me, symbolizes what is good about this restaurant; it had a smoky flavor that contrasted beautifully with the tangy and spicy sauce. We had Manchurian goat (dry) which was my second favorite dish after the chicken; it was spicy and somewhat smoky, and very goaty, which is great if that's your thing. The meat was almost like goat jerkey reconstituted and then cooked in this dry blend of spices; the flavor was deep and complex and earthy. To round things out we had a vegetarian dish, Manchurian gobi (cauliflower) which was spiced like the goat yet somehow less deep, but with a wet sauce instead of dry.

If you have been reading the raves about this place, add this one to it and let the preponderance of good recommendations compel you to go. If you were on the fence, I hope this has pushed you over. enjoy!

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