SoMd Sip and Bite Encounters with Lynne O’Meara: Bollywood Masala

By: Lynne O’Meara, Southern Maryland Resturants

LaPlata has some great restaurants and one of my favorites is Bollywood Masala! Open since April 2016, owners Raj and Punita Malhotra have created an inviting atmosphere and amazing food!

From Northern India (New Delhi), they have brought the food of their heritage to our area. Raj said he loves to serve the food of his childhood. He doesn’t want to serve “Americanized” Indian food, but rather authentic regional cuisine. The flavors of his food are exceptional, layered, and delicate. Raj brings in the spices, grinds them, and then creates his own blends. He told me “all the dishes are unique and have different spices and flavors”.

Raj is almost always at the restaurant and is willing to offer menu suggestions. He understands some people are not familiar with Indian food. I always thought it was just curry…but it’s so much more! Curry is a variety of dishes that use a complex combination of spices or herbs, usually including ground turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, cloves, and fresh or dried chilies. Curry is generally prepared in a sauce. It is not curry powder (as I thought). Many of these spices have health benefits and are anti-inflammatories and/or antioxidants.

The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. Afaq (who takes care of the front of the house) greets diners with a smile. Punita is often there and is so welcoming! She is always willing to help with suggestions too. They make sure the food and service are outstanding. Bollywood Masala was originally located across the bridge in Dahlgren, Virginia and moved to LaPlata to better serve Southern Maryland. I love that the family lives locally and is involved in the community…and they are so nice! When I visit, I always enjoy chatting with them! Raj said he tells his staff to “take care of customers like they are in your house”.

We went for lunch last week. Every day, except Sunday, they have a lunch buffet. The buffet prices are Monday-Thursday (from 11am-2pm) $9.95, Friday (from 11am-2pm) $11.95, and Saturday (from 11:30am-2:30pm) $13.95. The prices increase because, as the week goes on, special dishes are added. On Fridays, they add a goat or lamb dish and a fish dish, and on Saturdays, they add to that with a shrimp dish and offer an Indian street food item (these changes each week).

Lunch can be ordered off the menu, or you can try the buffet. We went with the buffet…it was so good! The Butter Chicken was tender with a mild creamy sauce. The Tandoori Chicken (cooked in a clay pot over charcoal) was tender and flavorful too! The Pakora is battered deep-fried vegetables. They were lightly-battered and not greasy…and they were delicious! Other buffet options included Chicken Chilli, Palaak Paneer (Paneer is a high-protein homemade cottage cheese), Basmati Rice, Lemon Rice, Lamb Keema Matar (ground lamb and peas, and a nice contrast between spicy and sweet), and Fish Pakora. There are also condiments (these are sauces and chutneys). For desserts, they had a Vermicelli Pudding (similar to Rice Pudding) and Mango Mousse. Everything was amazing. And I want more Mango Mousse!! All the items on the buffet are made fresh every day. Some of these dishes are not available on the menu, so it gives diners an opportunity to try new things! Raj said the buffet gives “everyone a chance to sample a taste of Indian”.

They also have a small bar and an amazing system to mix cocktails. It called Smartender and is an advanced automated cocktail dispensing system. It ensures the perfect pour every time. I have heard from many people about the amazing cocktails at Bollywood Masala! The Mai Tai and Margarita are very popular. Raj feels the drinks are made to compliment the cuisine. Many of the cocktails have hand-muddled ingredients and infused alcohol. They have several craft beers on tap and a full complement of wines, including special Indian wines. Non-alcohol drinks include hand-muddled lemonades and delightful Indian Chai Tea!

Other interesting things about Bollywood Masala are:

  • The Kabobs, Naan, and Tandoori are all cooked in the clay pot over charcoal.
  • The Lamb Shank (in an onion curry sauce) is slow-cooked for 6-7 hours.
  • There are Vegan options such as Mango Tofu and the Paneers.
  • There are Vegetarian options such as the Black Lentils (cooked 10-12 hours).
  • There are Keto options such as Kabobs with sautéed vegetables.
  • All the sauces are Keto too!
  • The Cauliflower appetizer is amazing (and I’m not a cauliflower fan).
  • They have a private dining room that seats 15-20 people.
  • They are very clean. The kitchen is spotless and check out the restrooms!
  • A new restaurant menu and bar list will be out soon.
  • Look for a special celebration of Diwali (Indian Festival of Lights) at the end of October.
  • Raj’s father (Raj) owns the Bollywood in St. Mary’s County and his brother (Sonny) owns the attached bar in St. Mary’s County.

Bollywood Masala uses farm-fresh, top-quality ingredients to provide exclusive and authentic Northern Indian food. The hospitality and the food are top-notch! I’m going back on a Saturday to get the full buffet!

Bollywood Masala is located at 120 Rosewick Road, LaPlata.

The hours are:

  • Monday-Thursday – 11 am-9 pm
  • Friday – 11 am-9:30 pm
  • Saturday – 11:30 am-9:30 pm
  • Sunday – 11:30 am-9 pm

Check out their Facebook page and their website

Rating (out of 5):

  • Food: 4.8
  • Service: 4.8
  • Ambiance: 4.7

Total: 4.8

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