Masala Art - SW Waterfront
Since mid-July, when the second restaurant made its debut, loyalists have had rich reasons to dine closer to home. One is chicken tikka, its moist nuggets elevated with basil and lime leaves. Another is a south Indian fish curry that gathers chunks of cobia in a turmeric-tinted coconut milk gravy. (The dark purple rind in the bowl is kokum, a fruit that imparts a pleasant sweet-sour note.) Tender baby eggplant draped in a thick cloak of pureed peanuts, sesame seeds and tamarind makes for a meaty vegetarian meal.
1101 Fourth St. SW. 202-554-1101. masalaartdc.com.
My daughter and I seated with only a small delay-a nice seat in an otherwise nearly empty restaurant
our pre-dinner drink request was simple and almost well-handled, server poured water over the table and noticed only after we advised, promptly and apologetically cleaned
the chicken appetizer was tastier than expected, one veg, one lamb entree good, stingy on rice
dessert coffees surprised server who must have been new-very kind but hovered too much
will likely return, maybe even in 2019, but will almost certainly sit, eat, and drink in the bar area.
Our otherwise cheerful server never introduced himself, which seemed odd. We appreciated that he answered our numerous questions about the menu, but after we ordered our food, he never came back to check on us, or to find out if we needed anything else, even though we had mentioned we might order something else.
The food overall was well seasoned. We especially enjoyed the chicken tikka appetizer, the chickpea biryani, and the goat-cheese-stuffed bread. Delicious! And we didn’t have to wait long for the food.
I would go back again despite the odd service.
The food was excellent and tastefully prepared. Seasoning was to all four members of our dinner party. The service was impeccable our waiter was very patient and explained any dish we had questions about. I will be returning .
We arrived at 5:00 PM on a rainy Sunday and had the place to ourselves. Our waiter was responsive, the food very good. I recommend the rock salt naan and the chili garlic naan. The place filled up by 7:00.
Great food, great atmosphere! Among the best Indian food in DC.
Very very good! My sister and I had the tasting menu which gave a very good selection of the restaurants’ food. Even though our waiter was new, he was very thoughtful and attentive. Good prices, excellent service and pleasant atmosphere. Will definitely be back!
We had lunch reservations. Promptly seated but took at least 20 minutes before wait staff appeared. Restaurant was not busy. Food was very good but again probably 20 minutes before it arrived. Pace was just a bit too leisurely.
The food was good, but the restaurant was clearly overwhelmed by the combination of a birthday party and a rush of pre-theater diners. We did make our 7:30 curtain, but the slow service created tension that detracted from the enjoyment of the experience.
Excellent as always
The restaurant is OK but the service is incredibly slow and anxious making for theater goers. We had to ask multiple times for drinks, some food items and bill. They need to hire more waiters.
We were there and fabulous. The food was awesome but an extra waiter or two would have helped the waiter to table ratio for service levels.
A wonderful surprise. My friend and I had the Tasting Menu. It truly provided an excellent assortment of all the different flavors available, and everything was delicious. Like other reviews I will say the service was a little off, but I think ours may have been due to the waiter being new. As other staff noticed, they pitched in to help, and genuinely showed an effort to be attentive and accommodating. Overall the experience was very satisfying and I believe that if notified of theater tickets or other scheduling issues up front, Masala staff would ensure the service was as prompt as possible. Highly recommend.
Best things about the restaurant: ambience! (it is not too loud) and the food was excellent. The service was slow. Admittedly we did not adequately alert the waiter about our theater tickets until we realized that dinner was taking a really long time to appear, so don't make that mistake if you go. It was about 45 minutes from ordering to having food on the table on a Friday night at 6:30. Once the food arrived, we were really happy because it was very delicious!
My wife and I went to Masala Art for dinner before going to see a play at the Area Theatre. The food was extremely tasty, both the appetizer and dessert, both of which we split, and our entrees. The delivery of our food was timed almost perfectly, and the waitstaff were extremely attentive without being intrusive. We both enjoyed it very much.
Good food and great service!
The food was great, no doubt there but the service was a bit slow and our waitress was not very hygenic handling the food, her fingers dipped into the food while she was placing the dishes on the table. I think she definitely needs to be re-trained. The manager and the hostess were great and made us feel welcome.
Love this place! Their food is always delicious, service gracious and efficient, lovely atmosphere, not too noisy, convenient for a pre-theater dinner.
The food was excellent. It's my favorite Indian restaurant. Lots of really nice options on the menu. Love the spicy Tandoori Prawns!
The brunch is a great deal. Good food at a good price!
We were happily surprised at our experience. We did pre-theater dinner for Arena Stage and it worked beautifully. The food was interesting and good. It was all very pleasant.
This is probably the 5th or 6th time I’ve eaten here before a show, and this time the service was terrible and the food was barely okay. We showed up at 6:30 for a 7:30 show. We ordered the prix fixe menu so we could have a faster meal. We let the server know we had to leave by 7:15 for the show, and he assured us we would receive our meal in plenty of time. We didn’t receive our drinks until the second course, and our meal took so long that we couldn’t eat the last course. We didn’t have time to box up our leftovers, and our water was not filled the entire time.
I wish this was a better option for dinner before seeing a show at Arena Stage. The service and value were abysmal and the restaurants was not that busy. I won’t be going back after this experience.
When going to Arena Stage, going to Masala Art -SW Waterfront is an added treat and the menu has lots of variety.
Great place, very tasty food and good service. The food is amazing, a lot of new things and a very good price.
Very good food, reasonable portions and prices and music (soprano sax with recorded backing tracks- top notch musicianship)
Terrific food, but experience tainted by being woefully understaffed. Admittedly 6:00 on a Saturday and perhaps many like us were eating before an 8:00 Arena Stage curtain. Our server was hard working but clearly overwhelmed by the number of tables she was covering. Previous visits were before Sunday shows and didn't have nearly the problem.
Delicious food. Service slow and inaccurate, as was the bill.
great stop before Arena Stage- especially with happy hr at bar till 8 pm
I have been to this restaurant many times and have always liked it. However, this time we had a new waiter and a very bad experience. He could not seem to understand what we wanted to order and put in the wrong order. This meant we had to wait for half of our meal and then had to wolf it down when it came because we had to get to the theatre. I hope this waiter is not there next time we go back or that he has had considerable training.
Have dines there pre theater many times. Sadly the service was lacking. Orders entered late. Plates not cleared. Just sloppy service. Food very good as always.
The food we ordered varied in quality from excellent to decent to below par. However, what was notable about our experience was the complete cluelessness of our waiter.
It began with him asking for our order seconds after we sat down. When we advised we were not ready, but to come back in a few minutes, he didn't, and we could not get his attention for 15 minutes. By then, we were slightly concerned about having time to finish our meal before the theater. So we skipped ordering wine. Our waiter was totally unfamiliar with the menu, and we had to show him where each dish we were ordering was printed. Our appetizer and entrees did come promptly and were correct. Our waiter never checked back with us, and we had to flag him down to order dessert and coffee. The coffee came promptly (each cup was only half-filled), but the dessert never came. Neither did our waiter to give us a check; we had to walk over to the manager and also make sure the dessert we never received was credited. To the manager's credit, he brought us a (different) free dessert, but we didn't have time to eat it before leaving.
Our fellow diners also had poor service. We saw entrees delivered to the wrong table. And the diners at the table next to us never received their bread order until after they had finished their dinners and had canceled the bread order.
We will not be returning.
Awesome service! Seated right away! Food was outstanding!!!
Great restaurant near Arena Stage. Good variety of Indian dishes, including lots of veggie options. Love the Naan.
As usual, the food was excellent, we enjoyed our shared appetizer & our two entrees. There appears to have been some turnover in the waitstaff recently, and our waitress seemed new at her job, including somehow not writing our appetizer on our order slip, a fault soon corrected.
The sound level was higher than usual due to a lot of conversations plus music in the bar area.
No I would not ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::(
Server did not know the menu; had to look as we pointed to items. Theater menu advertises half price for bottle of wine, but we were charged full price. Lots of sauce with little protein. Everything tasted like cardamom. Might have been better had we ordered from the regular menu.
We ordered, as we normally do, baingan bharta. Instead of it being the consistency of a veggie "stew," the dish that arrived at our table was, quite literally, a soup, with pieces of eggplant floating in it. We asked our wait staff, and she said that was the normal presentation, which it quite clearly is not.
Very very disappointing.
Something was not going right at Masala Art the night we went. After being there for an hour, we had received about 4 bites of food. We had to get to the theater so they threw some random first course bowls our way. We did not get a full meal. The food we got was good. I would try Masala Art again, but not on a busy night.
Horrible. 100% horrible. It was a strange pre fix menu with a bunch of dishes that I didn't recognize. The food was horrible . The service was also horrible. Our waiters was really nice, but it took over 90 minutes to get our food. That seemed to be the problem for everybody.
Sadly, the whole restaurant experience was a comedy of errors. They clearly were unprepared for their Valentine's Day diners, yet my guest and I couldn't figure out why the service was so terrible when they were offering a very limited holiday menu with the same appetizers and deserts for everyone and only 6 simple dishes offered as main courses (3 options on the vegetarian set menu and 3 on the non-vegetarian set menu) all accompanied by rice and paratha. We arrived at 6 p.m. and they served the food in the wrong order starting about 45 minutes later and it was mostly lukewarm and not nearly as good as my previous two dinners there. The best dish was the "amuse bouche" of roasted brussel sprouts which, while delicious, isn't an Indian dish. It also took over an hour (after asking 4 times) to get my friend's cocktail served - a mojito that was all rum, no soda, and one mint leaf. We took the dessert samplers as carryout because it was taking too long..and ended up tossing them because they weren't very good. The harried manager did at least remove our 2 cocktails from the final bill after I complained. I don't know what the trouble was, but I've never seen a whole restaurant staff from top to bottom so obviously panicking and overwhelmed.