Masala Street In La Jolla Is San Diego’s Must-Try Indian Food Experience
I love Indian Food…can hardly get enough of it.
But I must admit that – until recently – my impression of Indian food was that it was all generally pretty similar in terms of the overall experience:
A decent buffet. A stereotypically-designed Indian-themed interior. Indian music playing in the background.
I imagine that for many of you, this is your experience as well. Which is why you must get to Masala Street in La Jolla!
One of India’s Most Legendary Chefs
Masala Street represents a culinary journey through the flavors of India and through the excellence of Grand Master Chef Hemant Oberoi, one of India’s most legendary chefs. In a career spanning four decades, he has cooked for kings, queens and heads of state as well as Hollywood and Bollywood royalty.
He has had an illustrious career spanning 40 years and becoming the Grand Executive Chef of the Taj Hotel group. He was responsible for the creation of stellar restaurants such as Varq (which was named in San Pellegrino’s list of best restaurants), Zodiac Grill, Souk, Masala Kraft and Blue Ginger.
“Cooking is like love, both come from the heart. You have to be extremely passionate about what you do” says Chef Hemant Oberoi.
Like Father, Like Son
His passion was passed down to his son, who is the hands-on leader of Masala Street, and is also key to making this restaurant such a special part of our community.
Chef Obi, as he is known, graduated from Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, before traveling the world to sharpen his culinary skills, and then eventually landing in La Jolla.
His larger than life personality, energy and commitment to creating a new impression of Indian food for American eaters can be felt in every detail of the restaurant.
Not Your Typical Indian Food Experience
From the moment you walk into Masala Street, you realize that this is not your typical Indian restaurant experience. The environment is bright, well-designed, and feels more like you’ve entered a nice urban bar.
The connection to India is found in the art on the walls – photographs from his family collection shows glimpses of life in pre-Colonial India – and of course, from the smells of spices in the air. He spent a great deal of time designing and building the restaurant himself, ensuring that every detail has a personal connection.
Chef Obi insists on the highest quality ingredients for his food. The spices are carefully selected on buying trips throughout Asia, and purchased directly to ensure maximum freshness and flavor. The difference is noticeable.
The incredible flavors of Chef Obi’s dishes are accentuated by the lighthearted presentation of many of the dishes.
Everything I’ve had at Masala Street is fantastic, but I find myself gravitating to a few things every time I go.
The Brie and Truffle Naan…ridiculous.
The Palak Paneer – spinach, Indian cheese, and cream – is the freshest I’ve ever tasted.
And the Tacosas – Chef Obi’s samosa taco ode to San Diego’s taco scene – is as tasty as it is fun.
Finally, I think it would be a shame to miss out on any of Chef Obi’s lamb dishes. He takes particular pride in them, and you’ll know why immediately.
As you can tell, I’m a big fan, and so are many others – don’t be surprised to find local and global celebrities sitting at a table next to you.
This success has translated into opportunity: Chef Obi already has restaurant in Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong (?) near completion, and we suspect this is just the start of a quickly growing empire.
Visit Masala Street in La Jolla before Chef Obi becomes a huge culinary star and is hard to find, and tell him ThereSanDiego sent you!
See you there!