Last week I experienced a new Indian restaurant on the Upper West Side called Roasted Masala. As a former resident of the neighborhood, I was quite eager to return to my old stomping grounds for what I felt would be a unique culinary experience. I had read that the restaurant is helmed by Chef Jawad Rehman, who uses Northen India recipes passed down from his grandfather. He used to watch as his grandfather created cuisine for large and lavish Indian weddings. Those storied recipes are now brought to life at Roasted Masala for diners to enjoy. Hence, I had good reason to be excited about this meal.
The restaurant, located on 104th Street and Columbus Avenue, is an interesting space with high ceilings, chandeliers, and bright accents that reminded me very much of India. Aside from the look and feel, you have the scent of spices and aromas inspired by Indian culture, so the experience felt uniquely Indian from the get-go.
I was particularly excited to try out a few new dishes I had yet to experience in Indian restaurants. Roasted Masala serves Dosa, a kind of Indian crepe stuffed with different types of fillings including Indian cottage cheese, potatoes, and vegetables. The crepe shell was delicious and flaky, and the inside ingredients delicious. They also specialize in Kati Rolls, an Indian street food staple in Bombay, as well as Indian rice dishes. My eyes nearly popped out of my head looking at the options on the menu. For starters, we had Onion Bhaji and Spinach Chaat, a lightly fried spinach fritter which I loved with the accompanying drip.
For entrees, we tried Goan Fish Curry, Chilean sea bass in a gorgeous coconut sauce, and Saag Paneer, accompanied by Stuffed Naan. We had garlic but other Naan options include cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and lamb; Roti and Poori, a wheat bread balloon. Both dishes came with rice, and the portions were big and filling. We even had enough for doggy bags.
What else did I enjoy at Roasted Masala? The service was lovely. The atmosphere was relaxed and calm. We sat for a long time, and no one minded. The Lassi drink I ordered was sweet and refreshing.
For dessert, we tried Shahi Tukda, sweet toast fried and soaked in condensed milk and sprinkled with saffron, sugar, almonds, and cashews. I must admit the texture is something I am not used to, so it was not my favorite, but nonetheless I enjoyed experiencing more of the chef’s repertoire.
A few notes. Roasted Masala is BYOB. They feature weekly rotating Indo-Chinese and tandoori special. Roasted Masala provides catering services and can be found on popular service sites including Seamless, GrubHub and DoorDash.
Roasted Masala is located at 914 Columbus Avenue, New York. Their phone is 917-388-3586. Be sure to make a reservation on the weekend as it got quite crowded during our visit on a Saturday night.
Disclosure: My meal was complimentary, but all opinions are my own.