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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Masala Bowl - Tustin

Masala Bowl® - Tustin
14311 Newport Ave.,
Tustin, CA 92780
Ph: (714) 505 BOWL

Additional Locations:

Masala Bowl® - Irvine
6628 Irvine Center Dr.
Irvine, CA 92618
Ph: (949) 453 0088

Masala Bowl® - Brea
600 S. Brea Blvd.
Brea, CA 92821
Ph: (714) 529 BOWL

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER!! I have now visited the Irvine location of Masala Bowl for the first time. The prices at this location are about 50% higher than the Tustin location. You also get less food and it doesn't taste as good. Their naan was overbaked to the point that it was like a cracker. Avoid this location! I will only go to the Tustin location from now on!

Masala Bowl is one of the few fast food Indian places in Orange County. I also believe it is one of the best. Masala bowl makes fresh fast Indian food at an incredibly affordable price.

I visited Masala Bowl in Tustin a few nights ago with my standard party of four. This was not a first for any of us. All of us actually eat at Masala Bowl quite often and we all love the food there.

At Masala Bowl you order at the counter and they will either bring the food to your table or package it up to go. The Tustin location is very small with only three or four tables. I heard that the Irvine location is bigger, but I haven't been to that location. For the main meals on the menu, you choose your main ingredient and then you choose your style of cooking. Main ingredients include vegetable, potatoes, paneer (Indian cheese), chicken, lamb and shrimp. They have 7 different signature curry flavors ranging from mild to spicy.

I decided to order the Chicken Tikka Masala ($5.99). This was my first time trying this dish here, I usually get the Andhra Masala. I asked them to make my Tikka Masala extra spicy. My wife got the Paneer Andhra Masala ($5.99), Isabel got the Potato Andhra Masala ($5.99) and Tim decided to get the Chicken Tikka Masala as well. Tim decided to be a pansy though and just ordered his food "medium spicy."

Since we were using another gift certificate and needed to order more food to meet the minimum, we decided to feast like kings. We ordered three orders of Samosa Bites ($0.99 each), an order of Raita ($0.99) and six orders of Naan ($1.49 each).

After we placed our order, we moseyed on over to their "salsa bar." Yes, I know that "salsa" is Mexican, but I don't know what else to call it. Condiment bar maybe.... Anyway... They have various sauces, onion, cilantro (I think) and lemons. I don't really know all the sauces are called. We all seemed to like the green sauce though. It's spicy and I think it tastes like there is cilantro in it.

We sat down at the table and waited for our feast to be prepared. Since everything at Masala Bowl is made fresh and to order, not scooped out of a chafing dish, it takes a little while to prepare. After about ten minutes our food was ready.

The Samosa Bites were four little fried triangles of yumminess per order. They are stuffed with a slightly spicy mixture of potato and seasonings. The Raita, a yogurt made with spices, onion and cucumber was also very good. It's good for cooling down your mouth if you've eaten too much spicy food.

Our Naan was served fresh and hot. Even though Naan is a basic really plain flatbread, it always seems to be our favorite part of the meal.

I tried my Chicken Tikka Masala. Chicken Tikka Masala is chicken in a creamy tomato based sauce seasoned with Indian herbs and spices. Since Tikka Masala is not usually a spicy dish, I ordered mine extra spicy, but sadly it was still not that spicy. The tomato flavor was the dominant flavor in this dish to the point that I think it was underseasoned. It kinda just tasted like chicken in tomato soup. I should have stuck with the Andhra Masala that I usually get here. The meals here are served with basmati rice and salad. The salad here is really good. It's kind of like an Indian coleslaw that is slightly spicy.

My wife and Isabel, as always, really enjoyed their Andhra Masala. Andhra Masala is Masala Bowl's spiciest dish. It's made with hot chiles and Indian herbs and spices. It's full of flavor and usually spicy enough to make you sweat a little.

I really enjoy eating at Masala Bowl and I hope they continue to expand. The food here is fantastic for the price and it makes it so much easier to get Indian food on a whim.

Masala Bowl Indian Cafe on Urbanspoon


Unknown said...

Ate there this week. All the breads (naans, rotis etc.) were reheated packaged items that can be purchased @ any Indian grocery stores. Curry bases were way too salty and the paneer was rubbery. Not worth the effort or money

Griffin said...

I'm sorry to hear that you did not like Masala Bowl. Do you have a suggestion as to where to get better Indian fast food in the area?

Charlotte said...

I am about to go to Masala Bowl right now.
I like this article and this writer, I definitely appreciate web sites like this. Thanks! I'll report back on my experience.

Music SE said...

I've never tried Indian fast food. I'd love to eat something. From what you've written here it is clear that Masala Bowl is a nice a place to visit. I was surprised at the widest choice.

Anonymous said...

love this place but very expensive. I would eat there more often if it didnt cost almost $8 for one entree (that doesn't even include a drink!)

eric z. said...

Your blog is a joke, griffin eats? more like cheapass eats.