Propos­ing mar­riage at Masti

GA Voice - - A&e - (Cliff Bo­s­tock, PhD, is a long­time At­lanta res­tau­rant critic and for­mer psy­chother­a­pist now spe­cial­iz­ing in life coach­ing for cre­ative types and those in so-called midlife cri­sis. www.cliff­bo­stock.com.) By CLIFF BO­S­TOCK

The Ans­ley Mall Star­bucks, I have learned, is not the best place to pro­pose mar­riage.

I was there the Fri­day the Supreme Court le­gal­ized vol­un­tary im­pris­on­ment. As usual, I was wait­ing for my din­ner pals. An at­trac­tive man was sit­ting across from me, ears wired to his lap­top, busily typ­ing away.

“Ex­cuse me,” I said. “I was won­der­ing if you and I could get mar­ried.”

He laughed. “I’m not, um, that way,” he said. “But maybe if I were ... ”

“Oh,” I in­ter­rupted. “The de­ci­sion al­lows mar­riage be­tween mem­bers of the same gen­der. You don’t have to be gay. I could keep your par­ents away from your death bed.”

He laughed again and put his ear­phones back on as I sipped my triple mac­chi­ato, the only drink there that I like.

My friends soon ar­rived and we de­cided

to go to Masti in Toco Hills Shop­ping Cen­ter (2945 N. Druid Hills Rd., 470

236-2794, www.mas­ti­at­lanta.com). This is a rel­a­tively new spot that serves a clever fu­sion of In­dian and Amer­i­can dishes with­out sac­ri­fic­ing tra­di­tional fla­vors.

We were seated al­most im­me­di­ately. The man­ager came by to tell us our server would be with us shortly. “Would you like to get mar­ried?” I asked him. “No,” he replied and ran away. Our server, fe­male, was not in­ter­ested in mar­ry­ing ei­ther. By this time, my friends were scar­let.

I’ve paid two vis­its to the res­tau­rant and have loved al­most ev­ery­thing. There are plenty of tra­di­tional dishes, like masala dosa. That’s a gi­gan­tic rice-flour pan­cake rolled around a cur­ried potato fill­ing (oth­ers are avail­able). Pani puri is another clas­sic—hol­low, crunchy orbs that you break open and fill with a slightly spicy sauce or some tamarind wa­ter. Try the Nepali-style dumplings filled with ground chicken or veg­eta­bles. It should be ob­vi­ous that there are lots of veg­e­tar­ian op­tions here.

Branch out and or­der the strips of okra fried in a very light bat­ter with aro­matic, ex­otic fla­vors. There are tacos made of ut­ta­pams (thick pan­cakes) folded over your choice of fill­ings like ground chicken or pa­neer (a fresh cheese). There are hot dog buns filled with kababs or pa­neer and burgers stuffed with masala chicken, served with not-so-good fries. Many of the dishes are fla­vored with the res­tau­rant’s “Masti sauce.” It can, at turns, taste a bit too sweet for my taste, but it’s a def­i­nite nov­elty.

I could go on to de­scribe count­less other dishes, in­clud­ing thali sam­pler plates and some pretty weird bev­er­ages, but it will take more than a few vis­its to work through the lengthy menu.

We skipped dessert at Masti—an er­ror, ac­cord­ing to friends—and went to the nearby Bruster’s for “real ice cream” that, frankly, doesn’t hold a can­dle to Morelli’s or High Road. But a huge scoop of dulce de leche hit the spot.

While there, I no­ticed a guy, maybe 20, eat­ing an ab­so­lutely gi­gan­tic sun­dae. I asked him if he was go­ing to eat the whole thing him­self. His two fe­male friends laughed. Then, for the last time that night, I asked the guy if he’d like to get mar­ried. His girl­friends said, “Yes, yes, do it!” He de­clined but of­fered me a bite of the sun­dae.

(Photo by Cliff Bo­s­tock)

The okra fries at Masti have a very light bat­ter with aro­matic, ex­otic fla­vors.

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