Mazza Indian - Wilmington, DE
We just tried Mazza (http://www.mazzaindianfood.com) for lunch on Saturday. It's at 2909 1/2 Concord Pike behind the Rita's (I tried to add a new restaurant link but it's not working.) Not much to look at - just a few tables and a couple of booths left over from its previous incarnation as a pizza joint - but we really enjoyed the food.
Went with the buffet which had four meat and four vegetarian dishes plus rice and a few desserts. It also included a basket each of freshly baked puri and naan. Particularly enjoyed a smoky Behari (Chicken) Kebab and a spicy Baingan Bhartha.
We chatted with one of the owners who was very friendly and very interested in getting our take on their food. She gave us the bad news that our previous favorite Indian hole-in-the-wall, Chingaari, had reportedly closed up. Mazza seemed to have a reasonable stream of customers both in-house and takeout/delivery for a rainy Saturday afternoon so hopefully they won't meet the same fate.
After reading your review, we have tried this friendly Indian restaurant twice now and both times we have come away very happy. The restaurant is a small, clean, tastefully decorated place. It probably seats all of about 20 people.
We have tried the Vegetable Samosa Chat, Lamb Biryani, Tandori Chicken Platter, Lamb Curry and Garlic Naan. All of the dishes were very flavorful. One of the things I love about Indian food is the varied spices that make up the cuisine. Maza did not disappoint in this regard. In addition, the food can be prepared with as little or as much spicy heat that you desire.
The Vegetable Somosa Chat is a wonderful appetizer for two. The somosas are filled with carrots, peas, chickpeas, potatoes, onions and wonderful spices. We found it very delicious.
The Lamb Biryani is a lamb/rice dish. The lamb was tender and flavorful, while the rice component had so many things going on in it, that it was a virtual flavor bomb on its own! It was accompanied with a Raita, which is a cool refreshing condiment that helps to balance the spices of the Biryani.
The Lamb Curry was served with a side of basmati rice, I believe. The rice on it's own had a wonderful taste too it. It sort of reminded me of the coconut rice that is served at Penang in Newark. Once again the lamb was tender and the curry flavorful. I asked that this be served with a spice index of 5 (on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 be extremely spicy). While there was some heat, it did not detract from the dish whatsoever. I found it just right.
The Tandori Chicken Platter was another nice dish. (I may have listed the wrong dish, but if you visit ask for the Tandori Chicken with ground chicken.) This is your typical tandori chicken; what one expects when ordering this dish. The other item on the plate was ground chicken served in the shape of a small breakfast sausage. The ground chicken was a bit dry (perhaps this is how it is served) but was seasoned in such a way that I almost thought I was eating pork. My only problem with the dish, was that it lacked those abundant spices found in the aforementioned dishes. There was nothing wrong with the dish, it's just that I found it a bit pedestrian when compared to the others that we sampled. Nevertheless, it is a good solid dish and something that I would suggest ordering at least once.
We also tried the Garlic Naan. I have had naan before, but not with garlic. The garlic lent a nice sweet roasted taste to the naan that was heavenly. If you like naan, do yourself a favor and order this version.
We met both Susan and Michael, the owners of the restaurant. The were very helpful in describing the dishes and offering suggestions. After our second visit, Michael asked us back into the kitchen and showed us how they prepare the naan. While I have seen naan prepared on television, I had never seen it made up close. It was a nice way to end our visit, not to mention some naan to take home.
Michael, Susan and one of their co-workers (whose name escapes me) made us feel right at home. We got the sense that these are people that really want to do it right; provide a nice ethnic dish at a reasonable cost. I think they have succeeded.
If you like Indian food and enjoy the wonderful flavors and spices that are associated with the cuisine, give Mazza a try. This is not your traditional sit down Indian restaurant, but more of a casual quick place to get a good meal. Their motto is: "Curry in a Hurry!"
One final note: Mazza is attached directly behind the Rita's Water Ice. Depending on which direction you are driving on 202, you may or may not see the restaurant. Look for Rita's and park around back.
Having been to Nirvana for dinner in the past month, I have to say that we liked Mazza a whole lot better. It had been a while since we had been to Nirvana (which was usually solid, at best) and we were completely underwhelmed by the food and the service especially for the prices they charge. Since Mazza is close by, we see no reason to return to Nirvana.