Sunday, May 9, 2010

Masala Kraft

206 E. Hartsdale Ave, Hartsdale,

Masala Kraft is a strictly vegetarian restaurant in Hartsdale, and on the afternoon of Mother’s Day we were there with our old friends A&U, sans our children, who have now reached the age where their varied engagements, keep them fruitfully engaged, away from their parents. About a year old, it is in the small downtown Hartsdale neighborhood, near the train station and somewhat opposite Azuma Sushi, with a convenient parking lot in the rear. It is a small café like space, with modern décor, yellow walls, glossy tables built up with a thick polyurethaned finish, and a counter where you can your order, after which the food is brought to you. We started off with Bhel Puri and Papdi Chat—city street food now conscripted into appetizer service, that is fairly common in Westchester Indian restaurants today. My tendencies lean towards appetizer weighted meals, partly as a survival mechanism against the overspiced oily curries that pass as entries—but at Masala Kraft, the main dishes, as it was gradually obvious, remained king. We ordered dosas and a south Indian thali meal—consisting of idlis, rasam, sambar, vadas, uthappam, and curd rice. The rasam may (but not necessarily) be had as a soup, and the meal ends with the belly soothing effects of curd-rice. The first observation to make from the food at Masala Kraft was the absence of oiliness in the dishes, notorious typically with dosas and vadas, which, in a digestional postscript, hang a two ton weight on your stomach for hours to come. The skill of a south Indian dish lies in the quality of its sambar, a toor dal (type of lentil) based vegetable stew, and the lesser known (in the west) rasam, a watery, subtle, dish made from a tomato base. The food was an absolute delight to anyone craving South Indian food—and—according to our friend U from Bangalore, authentic. Masala Kraft delivered on mother’s day. The food was smooth, the dosas were crisp yet light to the taste, the rasam swam with clarity, and the sambar was fresh and hearty. There are different variants of sambar in the south and this particular example belied its Karnatic rather than Tamil origins according to U (confirmed after a discussion with the owner). And then, when the table was all cleared, the appetites soothed, and a few streaks of sun started drifting through the clouds on this unseasonably cold afternoon with whipping wind, there came two plates of restaurant made kulfi (as opposed to getting them from Queens, NY),deep, delicious, and laden with fat that we shared amongst ourselves. So good, in fact, that in a rare breach of gastronomical discipline in these autumnal years, we went for seconds. Along with Chutney Masala, and Chillichicken, Masala Kraft completes a renovation of Westchester area’s Indian cuisine.
Note added April 17, 2011:
On a subsequent visit here, I can affirm that their in-house kulfi remains first rate.  The place experiments with new dishes, and this is what I like, though the results can often be varied.  This afternoon, tried an Indo-Chinese soup--a valiant effort that will likely not stand the test of time.  Masala dosa and the bhel puri were very good.
Masala Kraft Cafe on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I like their samosa chaat too. The place is a very nice break from the rushed, competitive places in the city.