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Oct 3, 2006 03:23 AM

Masala Garden (new Indian on West 79th St.)

Masala Garden has taken over the space formerly occupied by Miss Elle's, between Broadway and Amsterdam. I wanted to try it both because it's new and because it offers dosas, which are not easy to find on the UWS. From the menu, it was clear that this isn't a Southern Indian restaurant (the only other S.I. dish is an uttapham and one of the dosas offered was a keema dosa).

It's with genuine sadness that I report that this is a lousy restaurant. The dosa wasn't up to the standards of Hampton Chutney, let alone the better places in Curry Hill or Queens. The chicken vindaloo and lamb biriani that my tablemates ordered wasn't any better.

I've always loved the space, and despite some ornamentation, it looks much the same. I hope it improves, but I'm pessimistic.

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  1. You got me excited, thanks for reviewing it despite the quality.. I will put it in the long list of restaurants that suck on the UWS..

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        1. I just ordered from there and was actually pretty impressed.. It was a little expensive but, I enjoyed it. I had the chicken vindaloo and thought it was excellent.. I loved the spice as well as the flavor. I have never been to the Hampton Chutney Company but, felt the Dosa was on par with Jackson Diner. The paner sag was really tastey too. One dish fell very short and I would not order again, it was the shrimp appetizer Masala Jhinga.. It was pretty much flavorless..Naan never comes delivered well and this was no exception. However it certainly wasnt bad.

          I normally order from Indus Valley and now have another option.. Looking forward to ordering from here again..

          Dave, completely respecting your opinion, perhaps they were just getting the kinks out, or perhaps its personal preference.. I am definitely going to try it again and will report back..

          1. Thanks for the feedback. Maybe they have a new kitchen staff? I hope so -- the area desperately needs good Indian. I was truly traumatized by my meal there. If you do give it a second try, I'd appreciate hearing about it.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Dave Feldman

              i tried masala garden place a few months ago and thought it was good enough but it didn't blow me away like earthen oven has. so, dave and for those of you in search of a great indian restaurant in the nabe, please read the reviews on earthen oven (72 and columbus) and then head on over. there is a daily brunch menu for < $15 until 2:45 pm that includes appetizer, entree, dessert and nan but, aside from that, the food is amazing and they are nice. their chef is formerly from tamarind and the sign on the window states that their other location is at indus valley. i find them far better than indus valley. they just got a great write-up in the NYT. my only reservation is that i wish they would lower the prices by $3-$5 across the board... so i cna eat there several times per week.

              1. re: nativeNYer

                I think I filed the first report about Earthen Oven here and I was disappointed -- -- but haven't been back. It was only a couple of weeks after it opened so perhaps it has improved significantly.

                Indus Valley's offerings are highly inconsistent, in my experience, but the better stuff I like better than the other UWS Indians. I'll try any Indian that opens in the UWS, but I don't find myself returning to any of them for anything other than convenience.