Get us in your inbox


Masalawala & Sons

  • Restaurants
  • Park Slope
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. Masalawala & Sons
    Photograph: Courtesy of Adam Friedlander
  2. Masalawala & Sons
    Photograph: Courtesy of Adam Friedlander
  3. Masalawala & Sons
    Photograph: Courtesy of Adam Friedlander
  4. Masalawala & Sons
    Photograph: Courtesy of Adam Friedlander

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

The latest from a hospitality supergroup.

Unapologetic Foods is the top hospitality group operating in New York City right now. Since last year alone, restaurateur Roni Mazumdar and chef/partner chef Chintan Pandya have opened and led Dhamaka to its status at 2021’s best new restaurant, followed it with newly Michelin-starred Semma, and began serving the city’s latest great fried chicken sandwich at Rowdy Rooster. Its coming attractions were obvious additions to this fall’s most anticipated new restaurants, including September’s Masalawala & Sons. 

Mazumdar opened the original Masalawala, his first operation, with his father Satyen Mazumdar on the Lower East Side in 2011. Although that iteration lasted a decade, it did not meet the younger Mazumdar’s intentions to serve homestyle recipes from his youth, instead offering locally expected items like chicken tikka masala by force of necessity, he told Resy. Now in Park Slope, again with his father, “this is the restaurant I wanted to open 10 years ago, but couldn’t,” he told the reservation platform. 

The Brooklyn location, billed as “a celebration of India’s yesteryears” opened to immediate popularity on September 22, and has maintained most of that momentum since. A (literal) couple of primetime weekend reservations are only starting to creep in at press time. Also an ode to the elder Mazumdar, who shares menu input with his son and Pandya, dad’s portrait appears on Masalawala’s Fifth Avenue awning. 

Inside, an L-shaped banquette opposite backless upholstered cubes is on the left. Arrive in advance of your companions for a test of character: slide inside to ensure your own comfort, or be a seat hero and work your core on the stump. Tables and regular chairs populate the rest of the vibrant, warmly lit space. There’s a patio in the back. 

Cocktails like the Bengali Renaissance (stirred with coconut-washed gin, turmeric, saffron, fennel and fenugreek, $17) and the Tagore’s Lyric (stirred with tequila, smoked bhut jolokia, roses and Himalayan salt, $17) are good and unlike anything else in the neighborhood, and little beyond. The same goes for the dinner menu, which even at just one page of consistent winners, can be reconfigured again and again over many visits. 

One advantage of an early reservation (the place is already buzzing shortly after the 5pm slots) is a greater chance of sampling the small plate category’s macher dim ($23), noted, at least online, as having limited availability. Myriad dynamic notes—Bengali fish roe, egg yolk, ghee and green chili with flavor-soaking kala jeera rice—are happily married in the petite dish that’s among the most seldom seen commercially available foodstuffs in NYC at the moment. 

Miss it with a later seating, and the same snack category’s dahi vada ($11) is a less-sung star (exclusivity like that of the macher dim is always going to gather attention), but its fermented lentil dumpling cloaked in yogurt with roasted cumin is a stunning combination of creamy tang, mild heat and slight sweetness, delivered cooly smooth on the surface and buoyantly spongy at its depths. It’s also a little indicative of what’s to come: masterfully spiced bites mostly without the more pronounced heat that many of us love and others love to comically detail like a fire-breathing cartoon character across the river at Dhamaka.

Selections from the mid-menu split the difference between shareable app and main. Its fish fry ($21) is closer to the former. Mild, white bhetki has a moist, flaky interior and crisp golden exterior, as delicious as it is basic in spite of alleged cilantro-chili, but enlivened by accompanying mustard. The larger keema kaleji ($19) is a knockout, the one to make a trip for, and order again and again even when all those other configurations await. Minced lamb and bits of liver are spiked with black cardamom, cloves and egg, disallowing any excessive gaminess or iron. It’s served with a duo of pao poufs for sandwiching, dabbing or grabbing, identical to the unforgettable varieties at Dhamaka and Rowdy Rooster. The bread’s neutral lightness is the perfect companion to the meaty richness.  

The echorer kalia ($28) is meaty, too, if you’re looking for that in a vegetarian dish merrily absent any invented animal flesh “substitutes” or “alternatives.” Its green jackfruit (often touted as one of those very things, but an actual plant that’s also great without the caveat) is blanketed in a mix of ginger, red onion and a panch phoron whose blended bouquet conjures whisps of smoke and sweet and the gentlest florals as though through a soothing soft focus. 

Most of these plates do not want for rice and Masalawala & Sons’ is exceptional on its own. It goes lovingly deep on the gawa ghee, to true, redefining, comfort food effect. The buttery, nearly nutty little bowl is soothing and profoundly fresh, like its dairy was churned by the very anthropomorphized grass-fed cow from whence it came. It’s delicious and soul-suffusing in Proustian fashion. 


The Vibe: Busy and buzzy but warm and inviting.    

The Food: “A celebration of India’s yesteryears” with wonderful macher dim, keema kaleji and unforgettably comforting rice.

The Drinks: Great novel cocktails, “mocktails,” beer and wine. 

Masalawala & Sons is located at 365 5th Avenue in Brooklyn. It is open Tuesday-Sunday from 5pm-10pm. 

Amber Sutherland-Namako
Written by
Amber Sutherland-Namako


365 5th Avenue
View Website
Opening hours:
Tuesday-Sunday from 5pm-10pm
Do you own this business?
Sign in & claim business
You may also like
You may also like