Carrier Critics: a review of Masala Street

Ellen Carrier , Leah Carrier

We entered Masala Street, a month-old Indian restaurant in Georgetown, with high expectations. Rated 4.9/5 stars on Google reviews, its stellar appraisal was surely a good sign. Right?

We certainly thought so, but doubt set in once we saw that the place was completely empty besides the chef and cashier manager, neither of whom were wearing masks. To make matters worse, our online order was supposed to be ready ten minutes prior, but we were saddened with the news of another 15 minute wait. 

Our one consolation: the mouthwatering aroma of warm spices and sauces wafting through our masks. While we waited, we looked around. One side of the restaurant had a cooler containing drinks while the other side featured a cheerful yellow and green wall, adorned with decorative landscape paintings.

Finally, our food was ready. We’d ordered two lunch specials and a side of naan. It was a good deal: chana masala, rice, and gulab jamun, plus a main dish (Leah had butter chicken, Ellen had paneer tikka masala).

We arrived home, unpacked our carry-out bag onto the kitchen table, and dug in, hoping that our initial misgivings were unwarranted.

Upon our first bite of butter chicken, any fears were immediately assuaged. The meat was delectably tender and drenched in a sweet, creamy tomato sauce. The chana masala was also a hit. The chickpeas were coated generously with a very different but equally delicious tomato-based sauce. Both butter chicken and chana masala are seasoned with an ingredient called garam masala, which is actually a combination of cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, and other spices.

Next on the plate was the paneer tikka masala. The portion was a little small; it took about two spoonfuls to clean the serving out of the carryout dish. However, those two spoonfuls were gloriously delicious. The fresh cubes of cheese (paneer) melted in our mouths. While the sauce looked very similar to the butter chicken sauce, it was characteristically different with a sharper note. 

Although rice is a perfectly good partner for Indian food, fresh naan is hardly comparable. This smooth, doughy flatbread is a quintessential must-have. Eager to sop up the remaining sauce from each dish, we reached for our side of naan to find it cold, dry, and hard as a rock. We managed to salvage some of the softer parts, rationing the meager sections between the two of us. 

Overall, the rating for this restaurant is a little complicated. For one, the first impressions were not that impressive. On the other hand, the food was outstanding. We’ll have to rate Masala Street a 6/10. While we could eat the food every single day if we had to, the unreliable quality unfortunately brought our rating down. That being said, we would no doubt recommend the restaurant to anyone we passed on the street. •