The South Asian subcontinent is a giant piece of igneous naan that drifted slowly through the ocean before slamming into the delicate spices of Eurasia. Align your face's tectonic plates to give the edible land mass a nibble in return with today's deal: for $12, you get $25 worth of simmering Pakistani fare, steaming tea, and other forms of fare transitioning between states of matter at Masala Grill and Teahouse near the Ashley Square Shopping Center.
Owner Amman Abbasi blends beats from his ancestral homeland with samples of flavors more easily recognizable to the generally monolingual American palate. Commence naan-breaking with naan ($1.25), veggie samosas ($2.50), or crispy lentil wafers ($1.50). Americanize a meal with a chicken tikka wrap rolled with spicy chutney in toasted naan ($6.49), or a burger of finely minced beef and yogurt cilantro chutney ($5.99). Keep it real with chicken qorma in curry and mild spices ($7.99) or karahi gosht, mutton stewed in curried tomatoes, ginger, yogurt, and succulent self-pity ($8.99). Of course there are plenty of ways to keep it meatless too, whether that be a masala of okra ($6.49) or the cheese-and-spinach-spangled palak paneer ($5.49).
Partake of the latter half of Masala's name with a cup of rare tea handpicked by Abbasi and the restaurant's mascot, a magical singing carp (premium teas, $2.50). If you'd rather befuddle your tongue, tipple some complex chai ($1.50) or a teasingly sweet and smooth mango lassi ($3.50).
- Masala Grill & Teahouse is central Arkansas’ first and only Pakistani restaurant. The food is good, the decor is attractive and the large number of South Asian customers is a positive sign. – Eric E. Harrison, Arkansas Democrat Gazette
- We like fussy food that's been dolled up with coconut milk and lots of spice and chutneys and yogurt, food of a certain intensity — which is how we would describe Indian food — so we weren't sure about the leaner Pakistani cuisine. But what Masala lacks in coconut milk it makes up for with zingers like its cilantro chutney, a pretty green combo of yogurt, cilantro and hot red peppers. The menu, while limited, is broad enough to suit all tastes. – Arkansas Times Staff