Many Indian religions hold reincarnation as one of their central tenets. For this Indian restaurant empire in New York, it might be one of its central tenets too.
Masalawala and Sons—from Unapologetic Foods, which also oversees Dhamaka, Semma, Adda and Rowdy Rooster—is a reimagining of the restaurant that Roni Mazumdar and his father, Satyen, ran from 2011 to 2021 on the Lower East Side. Now taking up shop in Park Slope, they’re bringing their Indian home cooking to Brooklyn.
“If we didn’t have the precursor of all these restaurants, where we built this kind of a bond with the city and with the people who are coming by, I don’t think we would have felt as empowered to actually be so daring to put half of [Masalawala’s] menu out there,” Roni Mazumdar told Eater NY.
That menu contains mostly dishes that the Mazumdars eat at home, as interpreted by the chef Chintan Pandya. Fritters, including the tapioca pearl and potato sabudana vada, are just a few of the stars. The crispy outside and gooey inside of the sabudana vada are a wonderful contrast in textures, especially when paired with Pandya’s version of chutney. Heartier dishes include daab chingri, a Bengali prawn curry cooked and served in a young coconut, and Ripon Street majja, bone marrow in a ginger chili blend topped with an egg.
One of the most special—and interesting—dishes on Masalawala’s menu is the macher dim, a curried fish roe that one rarely sees in a restaurant. A sac of hilsa fish roe is lightly poached in a curry of mustard seeds and tomatoes in a traditional clay pan, Pandya told Eater. Served alongside Gobindobhog rice, which is shorter and stickier than the basmati found in many Indian dishes, the macher dim will be made only five to seven times a day.
Along with the restaurant, Masalawala will also have a small shop filled with spices from Diaspora Co. and Burlap & Barrel, chocolates from Elements Truffles and cookware from Our Place. Later on, it will add prepared foods such as paneer to the mix.
Seems like second time might be the charm for Mazumdar and Pandya’s restaurant.
Masalawala and Sons is now open Tuesday through Sunday from 5 to 10 pm. Soon, it will also be open for lunch, starting at 11 am.
Click here to see all the photos of Masalawala and Sons.