Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Masti Fun Indian Street Eats - Druid Hills Atlanta Georgia

You can find Masti Fun Indian Street Eats at 2945 N Druid Hills Rd, Atlanta, GA 30329 in Toco Hills, in the Toco Hills Shopping Center anchored by the Kosher Kroger on one end, and a Publix on the other end. The shopping center also has several other better-than-average restaurants including Chris Pizza, Petite Auberge, and Top Spice Thai - there are also to exceptional bagel shops: the classic Bagel Palace and the newcomer, Goldbergs. Parking are in the lots surrounding this massive shopping center so there's no shortage, however you may need to walk a bit to get to the restaurant.

  Masti is an interesting concept brought to life by the same people who have Cafe Bombay near the Target on North Druid Hills. While Cafe Bombay is excellent, the style of Masti will appeal to a much younger audience, providing a part-industrial, part Indian street scene that is entirely hipster. The food and drink offerings feed into that same scene for a winning combination that offers a touch of South-Asian/Indian with awesome drinks that are entirely approachable by most Americans.

 When your seated your server will present you with food and drink menus. Masti has a full bar but you'll probably want to try one of the signature drinks like the Sharabi Lassi or the exceptional Lion Stout from Sri Lanka. This latter is one of my favorites and keeps me coming back to Cafe Bombay. If the Stout is too much you can also get one of several United Brewing varieties - I'd recommend the Taj Mahal over the Kingfisher as it has a bit more mouth feel and flavor (not that any of these lager are over-the-top - just slightly above your common American pilsner or lager). Or if you're here during lunch and plan to return to work, try the Thums Up - it's quite popular in India and now distributed by Coke. It's a sweet, very effervescent cola. You'll also receive a small bowl of crunchy colorful snacks to keep you busy as you wait on food. 

Like the fantastic Chai Pani in Decatur and the excellent vegetarian Chat Patti in Patel Plaza, Masti features the quick eats you would typically find on the streets in New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. These are combinations of the familiar (like samosas and puris) dosed with chic pea, onion, cilantro and a mix of masala and curd, offered up as a snack or appetizer. This is food meant to be shared or eaten quickly to offset sudden hunger and fits in great with the tapas crowd. What Masti does with it is unusual though offering up "deconstructed" chaats - basically the dishes are layered up in a bowl with the wet stuff on the bottom and the basic samosa or aloo tika floated on top. This is really unusual and quite filling - you'll want to split this for sure. You can also get a couple of different momos - your basic Asian dumpling, as an appetizer, something you usually only see in the northeastern part of India or Indonesia - there are also a few noodle dishes as well, which would interest my friends from Calcutta.

The other thing that's interesting is the fusion between many cuisines - for instance there's a chicken tika masala casadilla that's fantastic - the flavors and method of presentation just works. You'll also find tacos, burritos and sandwiches of different varieties, all made Indian style and all worth trying. Of the rest of the menu, there are some very interesting items you won't typically find in other Indian restaurants, like Hot Dogs, Burgers and Sliders with awesome sides of Masala fries (or if you're adventurous order the Khukuri Bhindi or Masti Masala fries). Of course none of these are your typical American versions and worth trying like the Chicken Masala burgers. The combination of familiar, mixes of texture, and interesting sauces make for something new and what else do you want with your food? If you're not sure, try a dosa while you muddle through the menu or order their take on the classic fish and chips. You'll notice several seafood items on the menu which you don't typically find in the Indian interior as those are coastal specialties. 

I've tried the thali plate which is something I love to do as it provides a taste of several items so you can compare and see what you like best. Alas, while the plate is exceptionally pretty (and comes with chapati!) I don't recommend it here. The small dishes are almost all sauce with little in there to fill you up - it's certainly something they can improve upon. The naans are good - try the bullet or chili naan to mix things up a bit and add some spice to your meal.

Masti also provides several different kulfi combinations if you need a little sweet to tone down the spiciness after your meal, as well as ice cream (coconut and green tea) and one of my favorites, ras malai.

Hungry yet?

-- John

(also posted to Yelp)
Masti Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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