Last Saturday night, the huz and I visited Madras Masala for the first time, for dinner. I’d heard many good things about this South Indian restaurant located downtown, near campus, on Maynard Street, and wanted to try it for myself!
The atmosphere was not super-welcoming upon our entrance and we had a wait a minute or two to be seated, and after that, had to wait several minutes to be brought menus, which seemed a tad awkward. All of the staff we encountered were nice enough but didn’t seem super eager or customer-service minded. Our food did all arrive in a timely, accurate manner, though.
To start we both had a mug of tea, included with each of our dinners. I definitely could have downed many mugs of this delicious tea, had free refills been included. Yum!
We both ordered Thali for dinner – a delightful way to try a wide variety of flavors and dishes. Included in each Thali are appetizers, soup, specialty rice, veggies, and dessert.
I ordered the vegetarian Thali and was brought this appetizer plate shortly thereafter, which includes:
- various sauces (these probably have names with which I am unfamiliar)
My favorite was the vada, the donut-shaped savory fritter-like item.
And next – check this out! The main course Thali platter. All sorts of delicious dishes to try! I love it.
I actually don’t know everything by name here, but included amongst the selection are, starting at 12:00 and moving clockwise:
- yogurt rice
- veggie rice
- two vegetarian dishes
- mango chutney? a sweet, somewhat tangy, thick spread that was really tasty
- my favorite vegetarian dish – with the creamy tan sauce
- basmati rice
- papad (the crispy disk protruding from the plate)
I loved mixing bites and flavors together. I felt like Remy from the movie Ratatouille.
For reference, here is the very similar non-vegetarian Thali option, ordered by the huz:
He enjoyed it but did not like the inclusion of bones in the fish and at least one other dish, that made eating awkward and difficult. I also had a cardamom pod and an inedible fibrous lemongrass stalk in two of my dishes, which created a similar issue – awkward eating. Not sure if this is just the authentic South Indian way of preparing food or just a lack of attention to detail in terms of food preparation and presentation.
But, these issues were rather small, and overall didn’t significantly hinder my enjoyment of the meal.
I actually loved every single dish in my Thali. Well with one exception. The only item I didn’t love was the yogurt rice – I love yogurt and I love rice but together, eh, not my bag.
Overall I enjoyed my meal at Madras Masala but I wasn’t totally blown away by the food or service. I’d give the restaurant and overall “average” review, and probably would go back again, especially if I can figure out what that incredible creamy, tan vegetarian dish in my Thali was! (If I recall, it also had peas in it, but that is about all I remember. Maybe it was a cashew-based sauce?). I’d also love to try the lunch buffet. Madras Masala presents a good option for South Indian cuisine in Ann Arbor.