Casual Fast Indian Food: Urban Masala

Have you ever noticed that there are two types of Indian restaurants in Los Angeles? There are many casual, strip center restaurants that serve adequate cuisine and then a hand full of elegant restaurants. I recently found a fast, casual dining Indian restaurant in Hollywood, that may set a new trend for Indian dining.

Urban Masala’s décor is simple and minimalist with concrete floors, brushed metal stools and communal tables. We sat at the bar, which had two flat-screen televisions showing basketball games.

Since they didn’t have their liquor license when we dined, they offered a variety of sodas and beverages from India. There is Thums Up (best-selling soda in India) that tastes like a cola, Mirinda is a fruity orange drink, and Limca is lemon/lime flavored. They also make a sweet yogurt based, mango lassi using mango pulp from India. As soon as the restaurant receives their liquor license, they will serve local and Indian beer and wine.

This is a “Panda Express” style Indian Restaurant. Guests step up to a counter, separated by a glass partition, and place their order. The night we dined, Elizabeth and Aaron were very helpful in suggesting some of the specialty items.

Urban Masala has two tandoors in their front window. They are cylindrical clay ovens with tile accents, used for cooking tandoori style meats and baking naan. For those who have never tried naan, it’s an oven-baked flatbread that is served plain or with diced garlic. In India, instead of using utensils, diners use naan to scoop food to eat.

To read more of my review, click on  Casual Fast Indian Food: Urban Masala. This review was published in the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News on March 22, 2012.

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