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Masala, Indian with Chef Ram Thapa and Owner Rajeeb Mainali in the Former Bistro Vivant Space in Downtown McLean

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21 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

In the old Bistro Vivant space is a new restaurant called Masala.  I haven't been yet.  They do buffet for lunch, and have a pretty big dinner menu.  The chef is Ram Thapa.

It's amazing how much money I've thrown away at multiple Bistro Vivant chefs, and McLean 1910 before that, only to have the knowledge of those two restaurants become essentially worthless over time - all because I wanted to "know" every restaurant in the area.

Chef Thapa has come from California - I wouldn't read anything negative into the fact that he's come from a country club just yet, especially if Masala is serving Indian food. Still, this should be very different than the Bistro Vivant that first opened several years ago - the restaurant has been sold, and the new owner is Rajeeb Mainali, so we're really starting from ground zero here, and Bistro Vivant is Gone-gone.

Screenshot 2016-06-13 at 05.22.09.png


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This is an interesting restaurant due to its diverse menu.  I was with the kids and I have no idea what they'll eat or not eat, so I ordered just appetizers, but there were so many to choose from.

Aleppy fried prawns - the kids usually hate overcooked deep fried shrimp but these were perfectly cooked shrimp, with a rather thick batter.  For me, other than the thickness of the batter, it was quite good.  At least one kid loved it.

Achari Chicken Kabab - think chicken satay - these were marinated thinly sliced chicken that were very tender.  The other kid liked this. 

Chicken Momo - dumplings in the shape of juicy buns.  I seem to be the only person who liked it.  The kids like Chinese dumplings - I think the Momo seasoning threw them off.

Veggie App sampler - I didn't try to sell these to the kids.  I thought the pakora was good, and the Hara Kabab (Spinach and cottage cheese patties) a bit bland.  The samosa is still sitting in the fridge. I ordered way too much food.

Garlic Basil Naan - I thought the kid would like the garlic bread.  It turned out one did, the other one dropped hers on the floor and then wouldn't eat any (after I offered her another piece).  These were pretty good.

Chicken tenders - back-up just in case everything else failed.  These went untouched, but the fries that came with were a hit.

I would love for the Indians in this community to check out this place and analyze what's good vs. not good.


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A mixed experience here last night on the food front.  

1.  Aleppy fried prawns - vastly improved with a light crunchy batter and tender shrimps

2.  Galouti kebab - dry and pressed lamb patty

3.  Chicken Sekuwa - really tender chicken with lots of flavor

4.  Curry wings - these were tasty but they look like the battered fried wings that I see everywhere (Safeway, 7-11, etc.)

5.  Lotus Spinach chaat - crispy battered fried spinach and lotus root that tastes good even to kids who don't eat greens

6.  Assorted veggie plate - average samosa and onion pakora, and unappetizing hara kabab (spinach and cottage cheese patties which appear like hockey pucks in terms of color and shape)

7.  Basil garlic naan - pretty good if you like garlic bread

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