ADDRESS: 22576 MacArthur Boulevard, California, MD 20619
My very first experience with Indian food was about 7 or 8 years ago when my dad took me to a local Indian restaurant for their lunch buffet. I walked up and down the buffet line, examining all this food that I didn’t recognize. All I could do was take a plate and load it up with a little of everything to try out. The spices used in Indian cooking were different than anything I had tasted before, and that’s why I wanted to continue to explore more of the cuisine. Tikka masala, saag, vindaloo, my taste buds had been opened up to a whole new set of flavors.
This past week, I had been eating a lot of sandwiches and American food, so I decided to switch things up a bit for the weekend and go for some Indian food. My friend Jason tagged along as we drove over to Bollywood Masala for Saturday lunch. The exterior of the restaurant is very unassuming, located in the San Souci shopping plaza off of Three Notch Road. Since the restaurant is not visible from the main road, unless you knew that the place was tucked away in there, it’d be easy to miss.
Take a step inside and the décor changes quite a bit. The restaurant’s windows are all covered up with curtains, leaving the majority of the lighting coming from the lamps hanging above the tables. White tablecloths are draped over each table, which are all pre-set with drinking glasses and silverware. All of this contributed to the dining room to give off a slightly elegant feel, but not so much that you’d be uncomfortable showing up in a T-shirt and jeans.
There is no shortage of food to choose from when you’re making your meal decisions, with an eye-popping 6 page menu. It’s definitely a nice spread to choose from, depending on the mood you’re in: curries, biryanis, and tandoori kabobs, all featuring different meats or veggies. Jason and I decided to go family-style on the dishes to be able to sample different things, so we ordered the Chicken Tikka kabobs and Lamb Bollywood curry, accompanied by a side order of fresh-baked naan.
Curries can usually take a little while to cook, so it ended up being about 45 minutes until we receive any food, which was plenty of time for me to build up an appetite. The chicken kabobs came out on a hot plate, sizzling with a ton of steam shooting upwards (I think every table glanced to see what the dish was as the waiter as he walked down to our table). I really liked the contrasting colors of the dishes between the spiced chicken and sautéed vegetables. The small bowl of lamb curry was not too far behind the kabobs, followed by the basket of naan.
I first tried a piece of the lamb from the curry, and I was impressed with just how tender and packed full of flavor it was. I cut the lamb piece down to a smaller bite size, and it collapsed under the fork, just the way it should be. The tomato cream sauce was fantastic as well, layered with the flavors of garlic, onion, and other spices.
I then moved on to the chicken kabobs, which were also just as tender as the lamb and very moist. The red chili powder on the outside gave it just a little heat, but there was also a nice flavor blend of savory and slightly tangy that were present as you ate more and more. I also really liked the fresh-baked naan, which our basket was “assorted” and came with three types: garlic with cilantro, buttered, and plain. Out of the three, I think the garlic with cilantro was my favorite, since it added a savory flavor from the garlic and a slight bite from the cilantro. But all the breads were soft on the inside and had a crisp top layer, making it great for dipping in the curry. All of that was a lot of food, but Jason and I were able to crush it in no time.
Bollywood Masala is one of the only Indian restaurants that I know of in this area, so it has that cuisine market cornered. Thankfully, the quality and taste of the food here is outstanding. Although it seemed the food usually takes a little while to come out, I think that it’s definitely worth the wait. I know I’ll be back here to try something different and broaden my Indian cuisine experience in the near future.
Let’s now take a look at the Bollywood Masala Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
** Chicken Tikka Kabobs **
Boneless chicken breast marinated in yogurt, spices, and fresh herbs, served with sautéed vegetables.
** Lamb Bollywood Curry **
Bite-sized chunks of lamb cooked in a creamy tomato garlic onion sauce with cashew flavor.
And finally, here are my rankings for Bollywood Masala:
Food: 5 / 5
All three items that we ordered tasted fresh and made with quality ingredients. There’s also a wide variety of items on the menu to choose from.
Atmosphere: 4 / 5
The interior is nicely decorated and there’s some Indian music playing softly in the background. Definitely a good place if you want a quiet meal.
Service: 4 / 5
Our waiter came back to check on us a few times after we received our food to make sure we had everything we needed. Even though it took a little longer for our food to come out, I’m pretty sure it’s due to the cooking time of what we ordered.
Price: 3.5 / 5
I think that the price could be dialed back a few bucks on some of the dishes. All the curries are at least $14, and the portion size doesn’t really justify it (the Lamb Bollywood curry pictured above costs a steep $19).