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New Branchburg (Somerset County) Indian: Masala Art--any early reports?

famdoc Nov 20, 2010 05:35 AM

We regularly travel from Brooklyn to Bucks Co. (PA) and noticed, for the first time, signage for an Indian restaurant in a strip mall on the northbound side of Rte. 202 in Branchburg. We're always looking for good places to stop on our drive, so we hope some Somerset County chowhound will let us know if this one's worth the stop.

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  1. GraydonCarter RE: famdoc Nov 20, 2010 03:23 PM

    This is a perfect example of a place that has made no effort to have an internet presence. Perhaps they haven't gotten a business phone yet. The white pages listing is the start of getting your name out there... evidently not many people know this. But if they already have signage it would be hard to believe that the yellow pages guy hasn't shown up yet.

    Up the road is a restaurant called "Hurry Chutney" but the white pages listing is for "Harry Chutney Restaurant" which nobody is going to find. These little details really count.

    7 Replies
    1. re: GraydonCarter
      famdoc RE: GraydonCarter Nov 20, 2010 03:51 PM

      @GraydonCarter: As the owner of two successful and highly-regarded NYC restaurants, your opinion matters. But, I would excuse the owners of these two Indian restaurants for their failure to communicate with media-savvy diners, such as yourself. Instead, perhaps their behind-the-times approach can be attributed to their being from another culture, or, better yet, knowledgeable of the Indian restaurant key to success: word-of-mouth among the Desi community.

      Let's one of us stop in and try the joint and then report back to our fellow chowhounds.

      1. re: famdoc
        GraydonCarter RE: famdoc Nov 20, 2010 04:32 PM

        I'll try to find it... somewhere on 202 in Branchburg.

        1. re: GraydonCarter
          famdoc RE: GraydonCarter Nov 21, 2010 07:12 PM

          Sign in window: Opening Soon

          1. re: famdoc
            s
            supde RE: famdoc Nov 29, 2010 12:58 PM

            Sign now says Grand Opening. Stopped in for a take out menu which says the website is masalartnj.com ... but I think it should be masalaartnj.com which still says coming soon. We're ordering tonight.

            1. re: supde
              s
              supde RE: supde Dec 15, 2010 04:05 PM

              Finally getting back to this. We really enjoyed the Chicken Tika Masala, Chicken Korma and Chana Masala (chickpeas and tomato). Each had plenty of chicken pieces and nicely seasoned sauces. Also ordered the Masala Art appetizers for 2 which had 8-10 assorted appetizer pieces, very crispy and fresh. Naan and pappadam were both tasty as well.

              Menu is large and varied, most entrees priced $8-15 and comes with rice.

              Definitely will order takeout again since we're local, but would also go back to try the buffet. It's nice to have a good Indian place close again!

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              Masala Art
              1049 US Highway 202 N, Branchburg, NJ 08876

        2. re: famdoc
          GraydonCarter RE: famdoc Dec 4, 2010 12:58 PM

          > But, I would excuse the owners of these two Indian restaurants for their failure to communicate with media-savvy diners, such as yourself.

          I don't think you need to be that savvy to be able to spell your restaurant name correctly.

        3. re: GraydonCarter
          h
          Hurry Chutney RE: GraydonCarter Jan 29, 2011 11:52 AM

          @GraydonCarter: apologize for a (really) late response! thanks for pointing out the error. We did report the issue to Yellow Pages a few months ago and its fixed now. When setting up our online presence, we went by the approach of searching for indian restaurants in somerville in google. In the process, we missed out yellowpages.

        4. BeeZee RE: famdoc Dec 2, 2010 02:02 PM

          stopped in for lunch today, it is buffet for lunch...they had some cold items to the side (starters) along with chutneys...cut up watermelon and rice pudding for dessert. Hot buffet had plain basmati rice, 2 types of chicken (IIRC, tikka masala was one), one lamb dish, vegetable pakoras (not greasy or heavy), vegetable dish (potato, pea, cauliflower aloo?), spinach dish (not palak paneer), chickpeas (channa masala - a little salty).
          Sorry, I'm a bit vague...not an expert so I can't remember the names. I enjoyed it, nothing tasted as if it wasn't fresh... if you are afraid of heat (spice), I can say everything I had was pretty mild.
          They provided fresh, warm naan to our table. I believe it is $9.95 for the buffet at lunch.

          1. GraydonCarter RE: famdoc Dec 7, 2010 09:10 AM

            Took a group of four for lunch. It has very nice seating, tablecloths, cloth napkins, and decor. Everyone enjoyed it. The buffet was plentiful despite the restaurant being already half full. The naan was kept refreshed and hot. The spinach dish is Spinach Saag which is a lightly curried spinach and pleasantly creamy. The manager said all the meats are Halal, even the chicken, and the co-owner is Pakistani.

            One member of our group said the Chicken with Chilis is very spicy... "I like!"

            Masala Art is located just north of the Branchburg government offices; you can do a u-turn at Old York Rd.

            Dinner buffet is advertised at $14.95.

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            Masala Art
            1049 US Highway 202 N, Branchburg, NJ 08876

            1. ambrose RE: famdoc Dec 15, 2010 08:34 AM

              A couple of things.....

              The web site is up and running;

              http://www.masalaartnj.com/

              The dinner buffet is available on Wednesdays only. Has anyone had dinner and ordered off the regular menu?

              1. t
                tesee RE: famdoc Dec 15, 2010 02:49 PM

                I went there for the first time tonight and liked my meal very much! I had the buffet (which is available every day for lunch but for dinner only on Wednesday). I am new to Indian cuisine so I can't really compare it to other restaurants or vouch for the authenticity of the dishes but they sure were delicious! I had the Chicken Tikka Masala over basmati rice, a potato/broccoli dish, some type of roasted chicken (that didn't have sauce but was very red looking) and the kheer (rice pudding) for dessert. The Naan was excellent too, very soft and moist with perfect chewiness. I work nearby and my company employs A LOT of people from South Asia, most of them have been going to this restaurant for lunch multiple times a week since it opened so that has to say something! I will definitely be returning. Also the hostess was one of the nicest people ever!

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                Masala Art
                1049 US Highway 202 N, Branchburg, NJ 08876

                1 Reply
                1. re: tesee
                  f
                  Forklaw RE: tesee Dec 28, 2010 11:33 AM

                  Had the buffet lunch at Masala Art on Sunday 12/26/10 and also was very pleased. The food was fresh and good. Little to add about the food beyond the above positive comments - - the tandoori chicken was flavorful and not dried out, the chicken tikka masala delicious over the basmati rice, the vegetable pakoras flaky and not greasy, and a cabbage and pea combo had just the right amount of heat (spice). What specifically impressed me, however, was that the staff constantly replaced the buffet items with new trays hot out of the kitchen even though the dining room was (unfortunately) almost empty and the trays on the buffet were far from empty. They appear to want to be sure that diners get food that is hot and fresh and not something that sat too long on the steam table. (Hopefully the (almost full) trays removed from the buffet did not go to waste.) I hope to return this week for dinner to order off the regular menu and will report back afterwards.

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                  Masala Art
                  1049 US Highway 202 N, Branchburg, NJ 08876

                2. g
                  gulwantk RE: famdoc Dec 18, 2010 08:51 AM

                  I am happy about this restaurant, but sad to know that IT ONLY SERVES HALAL MEAT. They should not say indian cuisine, halal meat is more like pakistani. Most Indians DONOT EAT HALAL MEAT.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gulwantk
                    ambrose RE: gulwantk Dec 18, 2010 02:19 PM

                    Gulwantk, you may be correct when you say that most Indians do not eat halal meat. However, since there are nearly as many Muslims in India as there are in Pakistan (150+ million), halal Indian cuisine is not that unusual.

                    Btw, I see this is your first post on Chowhound. Welcome!

                  2. f
                    Forklaw RE: famdoc Mar 10, 2011 10:07 AM

                    Has anyone been to Masala Art recently? Still good? (Thinking about place for dinner tonight.)

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                    Masala Art
                    1049 US Highway 202 N, Branchburg, NJ 08876

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Forklaw
                      famdoc RE: Forklaw Mar 10, 2011 11:28 AM

                      We have done take-out from Masala Art. It is a family-run restaurant with a very hardworking and sincere staff. While much of the menu resembles those of other North Indian restaurants, if you ask the hostess or wait staff, they will point out a few items peculiar to the part of India they are from. All in all, very passable Indian food.

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                      Masala Art
                      1049 US Highway 202 N, Branchburg, NJ 08876

                      1. re: famdoc
                        a
                        Astrocat RE: famdoc Dec 10, 2011 04:23 AM

                        Well I have to say this is my favorite Indian restaurant I have tried a few in the area. The food tastes fresh. Price is reasonable wait staff very friendly and helpful.

                    2. s
                      samjam101 RE: famdoc Dec 16, 2011 07:18 AM

                      One of the better local Indian restaurants. The service is friendly and very helpful. We have dined in and taken out. I am a fan of lamb and they do it so well regardless of which lamb dish. They have the most moist and tasteful tandoori chicken around! My children always order tandoori chicken and they even noticed that it was tasty and moist here! Well worth a try and returning!!

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