Tikka Masala: 71-03 Grand Ave.,
Maspeth, NY 11378; 429-0101
Hours: Open for lunch 12 - 3 p.m. and for dinner from
5 - 11 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays.
Special Features: Ethnic decor and music.
Parking: On the street.
Shut off your beeper, put your cell phone on voice mail and prepare for
a sea of Indian delicacies. In an atmosphere that removes its patron from the bustle of
the city and implants them in an Eastern retreat, Maspeths Tikka Masala allows
freedom from responsibilities.
"A lot of people dont know Indian food," said
proprietor Kabir - who has enjoyed a following of longtime guests since relocating from
Papadam, a crispy bean wafer, will open a romantic, social or personal
evening. Accompanied by a colorful triad of spicy sauces to please the palette, the light
homemade bread is not filling.
While combing over the menu, the crimson and gold decor, accentuated by
intricate hanging tapestries and wall images portraying cultural Indian themes may lead to
adventuresome selections or the confidence to leave your evening in the hands of the chef.
If choosing on your own, begin with a vegetarian special (all $6.95)
like Chana Sag, chick peas and creamed spinach, or Sabjee Bhajee, fresh spinach blended
with tomatoes and onions. To add citrus zest, ask for a lemon.
To fill a hardy appetite or start off a meal for more than one,
consider requesting an assorted plate of Masalas seasoned meat, poultry and seafood
selections cooked in a tandoor clay oven (which promises to trap the natural juices.) For
a smaller meaty appetizer, try the Shami Kebab ($2.95), a seasoned meat patty.
The signature dish is a refreshing entree that balances a spiced tomato
puree and your choice of meat cooked in a sauce with herbs, almonds and raisins. For
$8.95, Tikki Masala entree, joined by white and saffron tinted rice, can be eaten alone or
mixed with another entree. Dont be afraid to share, the reach across the cozy tables
wont be far.
Those accustomed to Indian cuisine, who enjoy the tang of spices can
choose from and array of curry specialties. Chicken, beef or lamb entrees and $7.95, $9.95
with fresh shrimp, scallops and crabmeat.
Indonesian dishes, skewered with coconut influences, are also available
and prices moderately.
The portions are generous and leave you with the option to clear your
plate, or take some home to make room for dessert. Firni ($1.50), an Indian rice pudding
flavored with cardamon, honey, pistachio and a splash of rosewater and the rich Kulfi
($2.25), homemade pistachio ice cream will end any lunch or evening perfectly.
At Masala, there is no need to rush. Alone or coupled, Tikka Masala
provides "the best of India."