True story—when my wife Sharron and I moved from suburban Maryland to Southwest last year, we noted the relative “restaurant desert” existing here. At one point, Sharron remarked out loud about how great it would be if one of our favorite restaurants, Masala Art in Tenleytown, could open a branch in Southwest. We let the moment pass, having no reason to believe that was a possibility.

Fast forward to July 17, and there was Masala Art and its owner, Atul Bhola, throwing open its door to the community for its soft opening at 1101 4th St SW, right next to Subway and across from CVS. Atul wanted to bring his new restaurant to Southwest because he likes the “open” feel, diversity, and dynamism of the neighborhood. He has even rented an apartment here for his chefs, who also enjoy the area – you can say hello to them yourselves when they take a break from the kitchen and sit across from Masala Art on the benches next to Westminster Church.

With Atul’s decision to put a stake in the ground here, Southwest has become home to one of the best Indian restaurants in DC. Masala Art continues to receive accolades from publications such as the Washington Post, among many others. Masala Art’s menu offers food traditionally associated with northern India – characterized by its heartiness – but also offers the opportunity to explore the cuisines of other regions of India and Kashmir. The excellent, inventive, and flavorful food is complemented by the enthusiastic serving staff and a dining space with an open, airy feel that all at once is elegant and has a neighborhood feel. The restaurant is also graced by beautiful artifacts that Atul acquired during a 17-day trip to India last year.

Masala Art is eager to attract all Southwesterners and has put in place a program designed to do that. They are offering brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm that features a three-course, prix fixe menu for $20, including an option for unlimited Mimosas or Bloody Marys for an additional $10. Happy hour is offered from 4-7 pm Monday through Friday, with specially priced appetizers and drinks. An interesting new feature, coming soon, is a late-night happy hour after 10:00 pm on weeknights.

Masala Art has been breaking in its kitchen, and the serving staff and Atul want the community to know that they will soon be on par with the high standards set by the Tenleytown original.

By: Bruce Levine

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